Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Religious Conservatives and their Priorities

Prior to the Senate's vote on the Federal Marriage Amendment, I received an urgent email from Don Wildmon of the American Family Association, pleading with me to contact my senators to express my support for the measure which was, in Wildmon's words, "the most important vote of the year."

Today, being Flag Day, Concerned Women for America is holding a rally to defend the Pledge of Allegiance. From a statement by Government Relations Director Lanier Swann, "Our country's founding fathers were men of faith who intentionally included the phrase 'under God' in an oath that serves as a symbol of loyalty and patriotism to our great country. "

Uhhhh...

As Andrew Sullivan points out on his blog, the pledge was written in 1892. By a socialist.

"Under God" was added in 1954 by Congress as additional defense against godless Communism.

I'm not really given to quoting Sully, but he nails this one on the head: "They're welcome to their version of Christianity. They're not welcome to their version of reality."

47 comments:

little-cicero said...

I honestly find the argument that "Under God" has to be removed from the pledge to be infantile and assinine (are those among your favorite words?) but practically (as opposed to ideologically) I've been compelled to submit to the secularists on this one.

Basically, the only way we can get this pledge back in the classroom is to take "Under God" out of it. It is only under the conditions that those who've argued against the pledge will allow it's recital without those words that I'm willing to make this submission. I actually wrote a Letter to the Editor for the school newspaper arguing thusly.

By the way, quit calling Francis Bellamy a socialist- he was a Christian Socialist. Along with that clarification I concede that it was by lobbying of the Knights of Columbus that "Under God" was added. I personally believe that it sounds much better with those two little words added in. "Of the United States of America" was added as well- will those words be challenged as well?

Matthew said...

"I honestly find the argument that "Under God" has to be removed from the pledge to be infantile and assinine..."

Why? Because you disagree with it? Is that the criteria we now abide by? 'Every idea in opposition to the opinion of little-cicero is infantile and assinine.' Seriously. It can't be because of the idea that the Pledge would be changed, because as it's been pointed out already, the Pledge has changed numerous times already. So... ?

"By the way, quit calling Francis Bellamy a socialist- he was a Christian Socialist."

Please explain the difference. And I'm asking sincerely, and out of ignorance, not to be snarky. Personally, I think that socialism, while not perfect, is closer to Jesus's teaching than capitalism.

Anthony said...

Andy, may I asked why on earth you're doing on the AFA mailing list? I've heard of keeping friends close and enemies closer, but this borders on masochism!

Andy said...

Anthony/Tony, it is a fair question. I find them entertaining, actually.

I got on their list because I was perusing their website looking for hilarity (and found it) and they were doing a petition (they are *always* doing petitions) on something (probably something gay). You clicked on a link and it automatically generated an email from you to whomever they were angry at, with predetermined text provided by the AFA. However, there was an opportunity to *customize* the text (presumably to add your own spew of vitriol), and naturally I took advantage of that to completely re-word the email. Ever since then, I've been on their mailing list.

Sun-Tzu said, "Know your enemy."

kr pdx said...

I was about eight when it occured to me that I was really uncomfortable pledging allegiance to the flag, and, upon further reflection, that that uncomfortability was because so pledging was clearly, logically idolotrous. 'Haven't been able to logic out past or around that. Pledging allegiance to the flag, our nation, or even the ideals or idea of our nation, every morning in my Catholic gradeschool ... how does that work exactly?

Seriously, of what use is a daily pledge of allegiance except to inculcate unthinking "patriotism" (or, rather, nationalism)?

Andy said...

What KR said. Hence the picture. I think the pledge is scary and fascist. Reminds me of Mao.

little-cicero said...

Fair question Matthew (It would even be fair if you WERE being snarky, but I appreciate your not being snarky).

The reason I objected was simply that socialism has, over the last couple of years, been in and of itself a vehemently secular ideology, and Andy's placement of the fact that he was a "socialist" seemed that it may have implied that Bellamy would object to "Under God" in the pledge of allegiance, when in fact he was not secular.

I don't really find the placement of the fact disingenuous, but I do find it significant enough to note. I don't claim to know whether or not Bellamy would support "Under God" but I see no reason why he would object to the words considering his piety.

Jere said...

Not only do the words "under God" make the Pledge Constitutionally suspect, their placement in the pledge itself makes no sense, which is why Americans have spent the last 50 years or so tripping over the phrase (almost every person takes a pause between "nation" and "under" where there's no reason to other than to get a handle on an grammatically awkward phrase).

If those words must be included, that section of the Pledge should read "one nation indivisible, under God, with liberty and justice for all."

Reading the Pledge as is, it's possible to reason that the word "indivisible" would refer back to "God," which flies in the face of Christian tradition, most of which observe God as a trilogy of Father, Son , and Holy Ghost.

little-cicero said...

So Andy, would it be accurate to say that it is not truly "Under God" that you're primarily against, but rather the pledge as a whole?

That revelation would lead me to question the motives of those railing against the pledge on the grounds of secularism, that underlying is a desire to eliminate the pledge all-together.

That you find the pledge frightening puzzles me. It is not there to quell or silence descent, for goodness sakes it is there to put aside descent for 40 seconds so that everyone in this country, for that time span, can simply be an American! People of every race, creed (yes, creed), nationality, sexual orientation, ideology and party affiliaion simply become American! What's so friggin scary and fascist about that?

Time said...

I find pledging a flag, un-American.

No American should be made to say a pledge to a flag.

I had heard before, and I am not surprised that a socialist wrote the pledge. A socialist would insist that you pledge the flag that represents socialisum.

little-cicero said...

The flag doesn't represent any ideology other than the ideology that "all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights...", so if it is that which you are against, by all means do not say the pledge, but I will then consider you unAmerican.

kr pdx said...

THINK THIS WAY

VALUE THIS ABSTRACT SYMBOL ABOVE ALL OTHERS

PRIORITIZE OUR VALUES OVER WHATEVER LESS ENLIGHTENED ONES YOU MIGHT HAVE BEEN TAUGHT BY YOUR FAMILY OR COMMUNITY

What's NOT scary? By prioritizing the Pledge first thing every morning (the tradtional practice) with all cumpulsorily educatied children (who start cumpulsory education at FARRRRR too young an age, btw, to be ready to effectively question their new authority figures) is not teaching national values--it is inculcating them. How is a nationistic mantra coherent with the theoretical goal of education: to teach a child to think? (Theoretical goal only, of course. "Obedience" and "usefulness upon graduation" seem to be the functioning goals; I suppose the Pledge speaks to both of those.)

Quinn said...

I think KR makes a good point about how Christians often are uncomfortable with the pledge. In fact, the original resistance to the Pledge came from religious groups such as the Quakers, who felt it was wrong to pledge allegiance to anything but God, or to take oaths.

There are also those who leave out the lines "liberty and justice for all," because they don't believe them to be truthful. There is more to the controversy, as this blog demonstrates, than just atheists who don't want to say "under God."

kr pdx said...

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America
(unless such allegiance conflicts with my allegiance to God, which it often seems to)

and to the Republic for which it stands
(again, barring conflict with my higher allegiances)

one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all
(this part is OK, LC, and seems to be the only part you actually are praising)

"Indivisible" was of course included to try to quell separatists. Not really a concern anymore.

Perhaps we could rephrase it:

"I pledge to remain vigilant that my nation grows in its efforts for universal liberty and justice."

This would turn ON kids' brains instead of turning them OFF. (Pun intended ;). )

Jere, your pauses comment is totally specious. A comma is the punctuation for "pause for clarity", just like a questionmark is punctuation for "pitch your voice higher here to indicate that this sentence is a question." I'm sure that it was "one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all," because at Bellamy's time people still used commas intelligently--or they didn't get their work published, which Bellamy did.

As a member of a faith congreagtion that uses recited prayers, I can tell you that where recitation pauses happen doesn't always make sense and has more to do with the shared rhythm of the crowd speaking than with the sense of the text, anyhow.

kr pdx said...

Quinn--thanks, I couldn't remember who the original Christian objectors were, just that there were some.

little-cicero said...

"I pledge allegiance to the flag, of the United States of America,

and to the Republic, for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible,

with liberty and justice for all"

Line by line, tell me how this is fascist.

Time said...

LC,

The representation of the flag is not limited to your description.

If you call me un-American because I won't pledge the flag; I say that you should open your mind.

Stop being brainwashed by simpletons that think pledging an icon is the most important way to prove one's patriotism.

HAPPY FLAG DAY

kr pdx said...

LC I beat you to it, see above

little-cicero said...

Wow, that was amazing!
Women's intuition?

kr pdx said...

Pff.

Logical derivation, mister.

little-cicero said...

"unless such allegiance conflicts with my allegiance to God, which it often seems to"

But that is unAmerican. As an American, I believe strongly in the American value of secular government, and I believe, as is confirmed by the Constitution and Jesus Christ, that my allegiance to the nation comes before my allegiance to God insofar as the law is concerned. If my allegiance is first to God, it is first to God's law and not national law, so I will follow Biblical law, in the process violating national law.

Allegiance, is after all a sort of legal dedication. It is not emotional attachment or devotion. Our legal dedication primarily should be to Caesar, not to God. (render unto Caesar...)

""Indivisible" was of course included to try to quell separatists. Not really a concern anymore." On the contrary, there are more and more people on my side of the political spectrum proposing that the ultra-blue states separate from Red America as their values have drifted. So if we are still to have Andy as a countryman, this word is crucial.

Yours is a pledge to work toward a noble goal, but if that goal happens to be attainable by means of treason, then you are not preventing treason, which is the whole idea of a pledge. It's all up to your judgement then whether it is just to work against the state or not. So then you politicize our youth without giving them a foundation in unity. Politics without the foundation of unity is...France. It's chaos- the only functional democracy is one in which at some point every disagreeing voice retains the ability to sing in harmony with the voices of its countymen. E.Pluribus Unum.

Nathan said...

I happened to be in Estonia in 1992 when at a song festival, the people of Estonia were allowed to sing their national anthem for the first time in ~50 years. It was powerful, moving and I felt myself swept up in the emotion of 100,000 people singing to the same tune. What was their national anthem about? The trees, rivers and beautiful landscapes of the native lands. For my knowledge of baltic languages, it could have been about the Simpsons.

The point is, anthems, flags and even pledges exist to encourage the identification of yourself with a group, a nation or a people. This is certainly not a solely fascist idea, and in the context of volunteerism, charity and goodworks is a powerful idea. Who couldn't argue that no man is an island (sorry for the double negative)? In this sense – that there is an entity greater than ourselves – humans require social structures (of which I include nationalistic knick-knacks) to live in civilizations and agree to their constraints and advantages. Why should religions have a monopoly on the view that the self is subservient to a higher entity?

So, I find myself somewhat swayed by LC's arguement that the pledge of allegiance is some time to think about the fact we live within a community of other people. Poorly worded for the 21st century? Yes. Unnecessarily religious? Yes. Do I like KR's version better? Absolutely. However, one COULD think of the pledge of allegiance as a team building excercise.

KR- As for the arguement that children are too young to recite the pledge of allegiance at school (a compulsory affair), does that also mean children of the same age should not be made to say their prayers before bedtime or at church (also arguably compulsory activities, albeit under a parent's compulsion). How old must a child be, or at what developmental stage, are they capable of reciting such an oath, pledge, or prayer?

As an aside, LC, asinine is spelled with one "s", and I think it is neither an infantile nor utterly stupid arguement. It is an arguement that speaks directly to the separation of church and state, an incredibly relevant and important topic in national and world affaris given its impact on policy's and laws that affect real people. The only way this arguement resembles an ass (the second definition of asinine) is that it is a view generally held by Democrats, whose party symbol is as we all know – an ass. (Badda-bing)

Nathan said...

oops, misspelled affairs while correcting anothers spelling. Let he who cast the first stone...

kr pdx said...

Hey Nathan :)!

Yes, I am cognizant that religious learning can be cumpulsory too. I am trying to raise up little thinkers, so I present things with "this is what we believe, but other people believe other things" (and you can bet there are usually a LOT of "why" questions!). Aside from bringing the them to church on Sunday and sometimes subjecting them to ("Mom, it's so BORING!") Catholic radio, I am also not teaching them rote prayers. They'll have plenty of time to learn them if they are interested, and it would mean more then anyhow. No malapropisms for my kids, thanks.

(Just read a funny kid-prayer-story, though: pastor's son finds a dead robin with friends. They decide to properly bury it, so they acquire a shoebox and dig a little grave. Pastor's son is, naturally, asked to say the prayer he has heard his father use, so solemnly intones: "Glory unto the Father, and unto the Son, and into the hole he goes." :)! Author unknown.)

Andy said...

Okay, confession time: since I hadn't written anything since Sunday, and hadn't posted anything of substance since last Monday, I was beginning to panic and thought, "You'd better put something semi-relevant up there or you're going to lose your readership!" So I whipped this out in about five minutes, clicked "publish", and thought, "Wow, that was a really lame post, Andy. You'd better think of something decent on the subway ride home to blog about for tomorrow." And shazaam, I get home and discover comments galore.

Clarification: I don't find the pledge itself fascist, I think the sentiments are quite wonderful. What I find fascist is the tradition of making children recite it en masse in classrooms with the idea of fostering patriotism. The best way to make people love America is to teach its history, warts and all. Forced chanting only makes us intellectuals suspicious. We can handle the truth.

Andy said...

Further point of contention: the "socialism" of the Pledge's author. LC, it is only in the narrow thinking of religious conservatives that "socialism" means "atheist." You're the one with the faulty definition, here. Many people have pointed out that early church society was distinctly socialist; that is significantly different than "communist" and even more different from anything that has appeared on earth called "communism" which has only so far been a dictatorship that thrived on populist rhetoric.

My point in making an issue of the author's socialism is that it highlights the obvious flaws in the revisionist history of the religious right, in that not only were the founding fathers not in the same theological boat as CWFA, the author of the pledge they insist is so central to American patriotism subscribed to political ideas wholly different -- categorically different -- than the ones CWFA pushes for.

little-cicero said...

Andy, I sympathize with your predicament, as I too have recently written posts just for the sake of writing posts.

I see now why you threw "socialist" into the mix- in fact I might have suspected as such at the outset.

I too believe that socialism and Christianity are at least compatible, but what I don't believe is that socialism in the modern sense has been religiously affiliated. In short, as much as the Left has great potential for binding itself to religion and patriotism, it has lost hold of both. I would prefer a country in which both political parties were thought of as equally religion-friendly and patriotic, wherein they disagreed solely on the basis of ideological differences, but that does not seem to be the case.

kr pdx said...

Oh, and LC:
OK, the indivisible part maybe could stay. I forgot how strongly geographic the political split is right now.

Noone here will care about this except you and me, but your authority analysis shows such a fundamental misapprehension of Church teaching that I wonder if you have hashed it out with anyone else before or if you have committed the sin of pride that suggests you can find your own answers in the Bible without reference to theology and tradition?

"Render unto Caesar" refers to those things which are not first due to God. God has dibs, as (in our worldview) everything we have is first a gift from Him and everything belongs to Him.

Civic taxes (the occasion of the "teaching" you use) are a far cry from mental allegiance.

Do you realy think treason is less serious than sin? Because this is what you logically imply. All of those martyrs who wouldn't bow to Roman Gods (who were state institutions and were worshiped according to state laws or dictates), who wouldn't marry as their cultures demanded, who preached the Gospel when the state demanded they stop, why does the Church hold them up as exemplary Christians?

America is simply NOT God's Kingdom On Earth (and it's certainly not HIGHER than God's Kingdom), so I cannot figure out why you so firmly defend it as if it is morally/governmentally unassailable.

Future Geek said...

You clicked on a link and it automatically generated an email from you to whomever they were angry at, with predetermined text provided by the AFA. However, there was an opportunity to *customize* the text (presumably to add your own spew of vitriol), and naturally I took advantage of that to completely re-word the email. Ever since then, I've been on their mailing list.

There should be nationwide campaigns to hijack conservative petitioning in this manner... that's a great idea, Andy.

little-cicero said...

The reason I bring up that famous verse is that paying taxes to Caesar was the LAW (the abidance by which can be considered a form of legal tribute of allegiance) of the Roman Empire, so I see no difference between taxes and laws, because to pay a tax is the law.

So let's change it from Caesar to "America". What is America's? An American citizen? Keep in mind, this is not a government, it is merely a country. When the Roman coins were stamped in the image of Caesar, they became Caesar's, so wouldn't it seem that when one's citizenship is filled out, on that person's allegiance is marked America's image (before you become a citizen, you must pledge your allegiance).

Render unto America that which is America's. Render unto God that which is his.

Your mind, heart, body and soul are not America's, but as long as you are a citizen, your allegiance is. It is no different then, than Caesar's image imprinted on a coin- that coin is his.

kr pdx said...

Pff. LC, you and I aren't going to agree on this one, although that last was a better go-round than the previous. Agree to disagree :)?

Andy said...

Ha! I'm with KR. I disagree with LC, but after his last post I thought, "Hmmm, I wonder how she'll respond to THAT!" Well done.

Robert Bayn said...

I don't have a problem with the "under God" thing, surely we know America has started by pretty religious people. I agree however the Under God Part was not added until about 60 years ago, and the basic reason for this, was to make ourselves feel better than those in Europe for saying we had God on our side.

The whole debate over God in the pledge of Allegence and other things to do with religion and government, is primarly stupid on both sides. Kids shouldn't be brain washed with religious ideals in public schools, once again if you want God to be talked about, Go to church, how simple is that? The problem we have is religious factions, want to force faith on people in every segment of their lives, and now what you are seeing, is for this reason, it's backfiring on them, the reality is, If Christians are hated, they really braught it on themselves, by forcing their faith on people.

little-cicero said...

Well kr pdx, you might assume that I would refuse to agree to disagree on the grounds of wanting you to agree, but it's quite the contrary. I want to see if you can persuade me, as you are closer than you think to doing so. Of course, if you don't want to, by all means tend to your post on my blog.

If you can just tell me what is God's and how that which is God's stands in conflict or relation to that which is America's in this case, you might well come closer to persuading me.

kr pdx said...

RBayn: so true. So sad.
I introduced an agnostic friend (with very religious relatives) to the idea that The Good News is in fact supposed to BE Good News ... if a religious person shares it, it should be out of joy, because they are sharing a great part of their life. (She was literally too stunned to speak for a couple of seconds. Which was depressing, as a religious person.)

LC: I thought you were making more sense the last time, and figured this was another case where you've sorted things into separate boxes (like the Reason argument), where I think more interconnectedly. Hence, I was pretty sure you wouldn't come around.

Here's maybe more, then ;) :
You are familiar with the argument that natural law is the basis for all legitimate formal "Law," right? Because the universe is a place of laws, order out of chaos, tends to balance--and as God-ists, we would also add that "It is Good" (Genesis) and the source of all truth and justice embedded His principles in His creation. So, first then, our "Law" is properly philosophically based on universal physical (and moral, for God-ists) laws.

Your occasional assertionssurrounding the idea that homosexuality isn't something we should be honoring with laws seem to me to hearken to your (and many others') perception of natural law, at least as revealed in the Bible and (for most people, whether or not you) because the physical evidence suggests butts have a different evolutionary purpose. (Andy, I really should have dinged you on that non-parallel statement when you argued it against that anthro guy, but he was SOOOO obnoxious--if he didn't catch it, I wasn't going to hand him fuel.)

Arguing that law is separate from morality is of course specious, as arguments I believe both here and at your blog have spent time pointing out differing cultural mores about murder, wifebeating, rape, etc.. I assume you recognize God as the proper author of morality (part of Wisdom ;) ). How then is He not the primary reference for whether a law is in fact just and whether we, as God-ists, should follow it, or with what caveats we should follow it?

[Yes, non-theists, I recognize that this line of thinking leads to anarchy--if God does not in fact exist and isn't trying to guide us to unity. Which you can certainly argue from the evidence nowadays!]

[I used "God-ists" because "theists" isn't specific enough for this argument, which is based on traditional Christian thinking; I used "non-theists" because "atheists" implies people are coming out against God, which is prideful of us theists--many people just don't find the question relevant.]

kr pdx said...

As LC mentioned, I have a post up on his blog. It's about the cultural fallout of the Enlightenment, with a generally feminist spin. Feel welcome to come on over.

(Now that I'm awake--Pacific time!--and have fed my kids, I'm headed over there. Thought I'd warm up here ;). )

kr pdx said...

LC--I also will give you this far: my political allegiance is to America, although I object to being considered "America's" because I am a "citizen."

I do my darndest to be a responsible citizen, because it's the right thing to do (social fabric, decent philosophy, etc.), but am not really down with considering that the country somehow owns me because I choose to affiliate.

little-cicero said...

I'll have to sleep on this. CU Tommorrow.

To Andy's readers: READ KR PDX's POST @ littlecicero.blogspot.com
(Finally I can plug without being accused of selfishness)

little-cicero said...

Now we're really discussing this thing! :)

So your argument in a nutshell is that because political law is based on natural law, we ought to bear allegiance to natural law in reverence to its original nature. Is that an accurate portrayal before I go on further?

Sorry to do this, but I do work best putting things into "separate boxes" and nutshells. In the words of Homer, "Mmmmmmm...Nuts..."

kr pdx said...

Ignoring several implications of your Homer quote, yes, that is it, in a nutshell.

You argue law is based on the absolute morality of God (back way back)--which has set off Time in the other string.

I argue legitimate law (different from "law" or "all law") is based on natural law (different from "God"). For God-believers, this construct includes your assertion, but it also admits non-God-believers to the conversation, since they will generally agree to something like the traditional philopsophical (/theological) natural law idea, using science as the universal base. (New Agers don't cosen to it so much, though, as they generally percieve reality as very mutable--no "natural law" to base anything on--and godship to belong to all.)

So yes, where I perceive actual law to be illegitimate (partially or wholly), I do not feel a need to affiliate to it and object to others telling me I must. Hence I object to the more-or-less forced inculcation of The Pledge, which implies a full allegiance that I do not give.

kr pdx said...

Oh, geez, that should have been "where I perceive AN actual law" --- I didn't mean to knock on law in general, which I am a great advocate of.

little-cicero said...

So to be clear, it is a pledge of allegiance to our laws, not our government.

To underline the importance of this, look at it this way: When your break the law, you are subject to consequences by law enforcement whether or not you agree with the law, right? It's sort of unfair to subject people to a set of laws that they have not really approved- for children that is always the case. So, isn't it best to confirm children's allegiance to nation and law before they become subject in full to punishment for violating nation and law? Would it be fair to characterize the pledge as a waiver of sorts?

kr pdx said...

First, as I got in so much trouble for bringing up a couple of days ago, I am clearly subjected to a set of laws with which I do not agree (abortion). I know lots of people who feel stifled by speed limits. Zoning laws took an infamous dive here in Oregon last year.

Is the answer to predispose children to accept laws that they might otherwise disagree with when they grow up??? That's just bizarre to me.

It's the parents' job to decide how much their kids should be inculcated with pro-government, or pro-law, or pro-God, or pro- (or anti-) [whatever], belief systems. It is clearly in the interest of the state to decide to inculcate such respect before a kid can figure out what's happening, and without direct commentary from uninculcated parents. Does that mean the state should? Or should even be allowed to?

It's clearly in the interest of the state to have a unified national ideology.

But our founding documents weren't down with thought control, and neither am I, and that is how I perceive the enforced pledge.

little-cicero said...

"Is the answer to predispose children to accept laws that they might otherwise disagree with when they grow up??? That's just bizarre to me."

If you can come out understanding this and only this I'll feel like I did some good:

The pledge does not predispose kids to agreeing with the law or even the nation, it confirms their abidance by the laws.

"I pledge allegiance...and to the republic" Means I promise to devote myself to this nation by abiding by its laws.

"for which it stands,* with liberty and justice for all" Means I will do so because the nation stands for noble principles

"one nation, under god, indivisible" Means the nation cannot be divided as it is graced with divine providence.

Nothing about agreeing with laws, only abiding by them. Nothing about furthering the government or even the nation- only about not working against the nation or breaking the laws.

kr pdx said...

Huh.

Well, OK, I see that you can argue that from the text.

I don't think that's how it actually functions(/functioned) in our schools, though, and still think it is weird to pledge allegiance to an object, however symbolic. I honor the statues in our church for what they represent, but I wouldn't pledge allegiance to them.

My husband has pointed out that pledges of allegiance are historically accepted to mean "as long as it doesn't conflict with any prior pledges," so as an adult my main concern would be negated by historical precedent. But historical precedent isn't, for better or worse, standing for much in the legal back-and-forth between Christianity and secularism right now ... .

(Your "indivisible because of divine grace" isn't supportable, since "indivisible" predated "under God," and it's not necessary to derive indivisibility from divine grace: it can be held true by combined political will, learned or agreed upon.)

little-cicero said...

We can agree to disagree, but hopefully I've softened you up to the pledge at the very least. :)

I do see where your concern lies- anything I argue from here would be your emotional relationship with the pledge, so I'll agree to disagree.

In case if you haven't realized from this post, I am a strong advocate of secular government. I have no problem pledging legal allegiance to my country before God, because if I should expect my government to put my vote before God's vote (if you will) I must do the same. If God told me to do something that my nation contradicted, I would be forced theoretically to forgoe my citizenship in favor of being a servant of God.

By the way, what is your interpretation exactly of "Under God"?

kr pdx said...

Are you TRYING to get everyone here to hate me more ;)? Not that anyone esle is still reading here. (Sorry, Andy if you are!)

Just because my decisions are more emotionally based than yours doesn't mean they are wrong ;).

Yeah, I had gotten your secular government thing. I actually also think a secular government is the wisest one we can produce on our own--and since most of us seem pretty determined to live sans God (even most who profess "God," from the evidence), secular government is the only workable answer for the broadest justice and freedom. I don't give it quite the laud you do, though, but we already knew that.

Given that you and I still consider ourselves citizens and the government is so screwed up on so many levels right now, how messed up would it have to be to trigger one of us to reject our citizenship? (Rhetorical question ;).) Sigh ... it sounds, though, like you picture some single big choice ... I perceive constant little choices ... which follows our general patterns for boxes vs wholistic thinking in general.

"Under God:" I think of it meaning "the government (the 'nation') should properly be understood to be subservient to God" (the law is based on God's morality/natural law and cannot legitimately countermand it) and/or "the people (the 'nation') are under God's dominion/protection." I've never bothered to put it into words before (as I consider everything "under God" anyhow), and I have certainly not read the Congressional debates from the time ... but I can't see any way to interpret that clause that doesn't by implication exclude non-God-ists from full conceptual admittance to citizenship in the nation being pledged to.

"One nation, in which it is illegal to make decisions considering God, indivisible ..."

oh, no, wait, wait, I've got it!

"One nation, under the Sagitarians (one of the more enlightened space alien groups, sometimes credited with causing humans to have evolved, or at least with teaching us non-animal ethics)" ...

Most non-theists think the KofC's/our "God" is as ridiculous as you think the space aliens are, especially as a declared basis for rational law in their lives. I agree with the secularists on the ridiculousity of having them pledge to a will-o-th'-wisp. I wouldn't do it. It's just not honest for them, and teaches them that they are expected to be made ridiculous, and that the rest of us are unremittingly not only ridiculous, but obnoxious. Basis for rational law? I'm not seein' that right now; I'm surprised any of them still bother to try to carry on a rational discussion with any of us ;)!