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Subject to Change by Rudy Yniguez: God loves atheists, too

June 28, 2002|By now you have heard the words "under God," as in this nation's Pledge of Allegiance, have been ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals

This should not come as a surprise, and despite what the experts say, I believe the U.S. Supreme Court will allow the ruling to stand if the 9th Circuit, in what's called sitting en banc, that is, all of the judges, agrees with the two judges who threw out the wording.

The case began in Sacramento, my home town. A self-described atheist argues his second-grade daughter was being "injured when she is compelled to ‘watch and listen as her state-employed teacher in her state-run school leads her classmates in a ritual proclaiming that there is a God, and that our's [sic] is "one nation under God."'"

The young girl's father, according the court's decision, does not allege "his daughter's teacher or school district requires his daughter to participate in reciting the pledge."

Here is a perfect case of what's said in Spanish: hasta lo que no comes te hace daño.

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Literally, that means even something you haven't eaten is making you sick.

Apparently, the Elk Grove School District mandated some kind of patriotic exercise at the start of each school day, and the easiest way to comply is to say the pledge.

Before the case reached the appeals court a lower court had dismissed it. As an aside, I'm surprised the man and his daughter were able to find a lawyer to take the case.

The Pledge of Allegiance is treated differently in different places and before different bodies. For example, back when I was covering the Davis City Council, the pledge was only said a couple times a year; only on certain patriotic days. In the Imperial Valley, of course, the pledge is said at every meeting of public agencies I've covered, including the Imperial Irrigation District Board of Directors, the county Board of Supervisors, the El Centro City Council and more. The supervisors go so far as to invite someone to lead them in prayer after the pledge is said. El Centro City Councilman Jack Dunnam does the honors at City Council meetings.

Interestingly, both houses of Congress are known to start their meetings with the pledge and a prayer.

In its ruling, the 9th Circuit's Judge Alfred T. Goodwin wrote: "To recite the pledge is not to describe the United States; instead, it is to swear allegiance to the values for which the flag stands: unity, indivisibility, liberty, justice, and — since 1954 — monotheism."

Amen to that, brother. As I stand there and say the pledge, I sort of figured that's what I was doing, despite the fact that I do not necessarily believe in God, and though baptized, having received first communion, and confirmation, have long ago stopped practicing Catholicism.

The court's decision continues: "A profession that we are a nation ‘under God' is identical, for Establishment Clause purposes, to a profession that we are a nation "under Jesus," a nation "under Vishnu," a nation "under Zeus," or a nation "under no god," because none of these professions can be neutral with respect to religion."

Fine. Let's leave the court's decision, you can find it online.

For the pledge to remain as is, Congress would have to pass a new judiciary act removing the issue from the federal courts. Although the Constitution states what the Supreme Court's original jurisdiction encompasses, the pledge and flag acts are not among them, thus, Congress decides what the courts may review on appeal and what can be heard in court.

Of course, the removal of the words "under God" is what you get from liberalism, such as practiced by Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein and Bob Filner. It's only a matter of time before the Democrat Party declares there is no God. As heard at breakfast on Thursday: Pretty soon one will not be able to pray in church.

On a personal note, if you want to hate this country, I support your right to do so. I will not join you, however.

Finally, while the father of the child is worried that his daughter is being injured by listening and watching others recite the pledge, it is nothing compared to what her future is going to be like when she becomes known as the snot-nosed brat who successfully spat on the flag.

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