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Pledge of Allegiance Ruled Unconstitutional

michael posted more than 12 years ago | from the no-law-respecting-an-establishment-of-religion dept.

United States 2722

VUSE g-EE-k and entirely too many other people wrote in about an Appeals Court decision holding that the Pledge of Allegiance, as recited in its current form in various public schools (often by law), is unconstitutional. The court's decision (PDF) is available.

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It'd be fairly easy to change (2, Interesting)

JDALaRose (139798) | more than 12 years ago | (#3772894)

... remove that one pesky subordinate clause, and everything's cool.

Re:It'd be fairly easy to change (3, Informative)

dejaffa (12279) | more than 12 years ago | (#3772927)

That subordinate clause was added by Congress in 1954, so removing it would be just going back to the original version. :-)

Re:It'd be fairly easy to change (-1)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | more than 12 years ago | (#3772950)

Hey foo, support CLiT or die!

Either you are with us, or you're against us.

Your choice, but choose wisely.

Trolling Declared A National Pastime (-1)

DonkeyHote (521235) | more than 12 years ago | (#3772967)

This LAME-ASS first post has been claimed for the legions of the CLiT.

Troll Scholar

Re:It'd be fairly easy to change (1)

Mark of THE CITY (97325) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773037)

Except that doing so requires an act of Congress, which (by design) is like pulling teeth.

Re:It'd be fairly easy to change (5, Insightful)

elmegil (12001) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773042)

Preeeecisely. "Under God" implies the following religious tenets ont he part of the reciter: I believe in a higher power, and that higher power is singular. One might argue further that since it isn't "Goddess" that the higher power is male.

That sounds like it respects an establishment (or a select few establishments) of religion over many other alternatives (hinduism, bhuddism, atheism to name obvious ones).

More telling yet, is the following quote ascribed to Dwight Eisenhower when he signed the change adding "Under God" into law:

"millions of our schoolchildren will daily proclaim in every city and town, every village and rural schoolhouse, the dedication of our nation and our people to the Almighty."

Seems a pretty clear violation of the seperation of church & state to me....

Re:It'd be fairly easy to change (2)

i0lanthe (198512) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773066)

Almost like a Gilbert & Sullivan resolution; only not, well, ludicrous.

"The subtleties of the legal mind are equal to the emergency. The thing is really quite simple--the insertion of a single word will do it."

First unconstitutional post. (0)

Macaw2000 (103146) | more than 12 years ago | (#3772897)

This should be fun.

What's next (0)

tech81 (128914) | more than 12 years ago | (#3772899)

What's next, breathing is unconstitutional?

Inhale To Enjoy Amerika's Drug @# +1 ; Fun #@ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3773055)

Be Patriotic (and enrage John Ashcroft), Smoke Amerikan grown marijuana, not treasonous imports !!!!

Courtesy of About 420 [phish.net]

Connotative Use/Meaning

420 is a phreak s (and not just a hippie s) favorite number for a
variety of reasons, or maybe for no reason at all, but colloquially
the number says pot -- let s smoke pot, or someone s smoking
pot, or gee, i really like pot, or time to smoke pot, either by
time (4:20 a.m. or p.m.), date (April 20th), or otherwise (e.g. State
Route 420). April 20th at 4:20 is marked by annual events in
Mount Tamalpais, CA (an informal gathering); Marin Conty, CA
(the 420 Hemp Fest); Ann Arbor, MI (the Hash Bash); and
Washington, D.C. (buildup towards the July 4th Smoke-In).

Original Source(s)

Conventional wisdom: The most common tale is that 420 is the
police radio code or criminal code (and therefore the police call)
in certain part(s) of California (e.g. in Los Angeles or San
Francisco) for having spotted someone consuming cannabis
publicly, i.e. pot smoking in progress; that local cannabis users
picked up on the code and began celebrating the number temporally
(esp. 4:20 a.m., 4:20 p.m., and April 20); that the number became
nationally popularized in the late 1980s and, more ferverently, in
the early- to mid-1990s; and is colloquially applied to a variety of
relaxed and/or inspired contexts, including not only pot
consumption but also a good time more generally (in contrast to
the drug war surrounding).

Conventions are legends: 420 is not police radio code for
anything, anywhere. Checks of criminal codes (including those of
the City of San Francisco, the City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles
County, the State of California, and the federal penal code) suggest
that the origin is neither Californian nor federal (the two best
guesses). For instance, California Penal Code 420 defines as a
misdemeanor the hindrance of use (obstructing entry) of public
lands, and California Family Code 420 defines what constitutes a
wedding ceremony (Marco). One state does come close: The
Illinois Department of Revenue classifies the Alcoholic Liquor Act
under Part 420, and the Cannabis and Controlled Substances Tax
Act are next, under Part 428. (RB 5/19/99)

True story?: According to Steven Hager, editor of High Times,
the term 420 originated at San Rafael High School, in 1971,
among a group of about a dozen pot-smoking wiseacres who
called themselves the Waldos. The term 420 was shorthand for the
time of day the group would meet, at the campus statue of Louis
Pasteur, to smoke pot. ``Waldo Steve, a member of the group who
now owns a business in San Francisco, says the Waldos would
salute each other in the school hallway and say ``420 Louis! The
term was one of many invented by the group, but it was the one
that caught on. ``It was just a joke, but it came to mean all kinds of
things, like `Do you have any? or `Do I look stoned? he said.
``Parents and teachers wouldn t know what we were talking about.
The term took root, and flourished, and spread beyond San Rafael
with the assistance of the Grateful Dead and their dedicated cohort
of pot-smoking fans. The Waldos decided to assert their claim to
the history of the term after decades of watching it spread, mutate
and be appropriated by commercial interests. The Waldos contacted
Hager, and presented him with evidence of 420 s history, primarily
a collection of postmarked letters from the early 70s with lots of
mention of 420. They also started a Web site, waldo420.com. ``We
have proof, we were the first, Waldo Steve said. ``I mean, it s not
like we wrote a book or invented anything. We just came up with a
phrase. But it s kind of an honor that this emanated from San
Rafael. Maria Alicia Gaura for the San Francisco Chronicle,
4/20/00 p. A19; and thanks to Noah Cole for the submission

Alternate explanations

There are a variety of other explanations, all much more interesting
than police code, and many plausible. Some are more likely uses
of the 420/hemp connection rather than sources of it, such as the
score for the football game in Fast Times at Ridgement High,

Known Myths: It isn t police code (see above). There are 315
chemicals in marijuana, not 420. And although tea time in
Amsterdam is rumored to be 4:20, it is actually 5:30 (Gerhard
den Hollander).
Sixties Songs: For instance, Bob Dylan s famous Rainy Day
Women #12 and 35 is a possible reference, or source --
12x35=420. And Stephen Stills wrote (and Crosby Stills Nash
& Young performed) a song 4+20 (first recorded 7/16/69,
released on Deja Vu 3/11/70) about an 84-year-old
poverty-stricken man who started and finished with nothing.
(Thanks to Sherry Keel 12/6/98.) Dylan aslo mentions 4 and
20 windows in The Balland of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest
(on John Wesley Harding).
Older Verse: But 420 in poetry is older than that - Greg
Keller notes the old nursery rhyme line, four and twenty
black birds baked in a pie. Revelation 5:14 (in the King
James Version of the Christian Bible) reads, And the four
beasts said A-Men. And the four and twenty elders fell down
and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever. (Travis
Spurley 2/15/99) And in Midnight s_Children, Salman
Rushdie wrote, Inevitably, a number of these children failed
to survive. Malnutrition, disease and the misfortunes of
everyday life had accounted for no less than four hundred and
twenty of them by the time I became conscious of their
existence; although it is possible to hypothesize that these
deaths, too, had their purpose, since 420 has been, since time
immemorial, the number associated with fraud, deception and
trickery. (Comet 2/14/98) Comet s best guess is that this
refers to something in Indian mythology or numerology, since
the book is set in India and frequently involves Indian history,
culture, and religion. Given the high interest in Eastern
religion among the phish/dead community, this seems a likely
origin of 420 s current significance.
Temporal Significance: Hands on analog clock at 4:20 look
like position of doobie dangling from mouth Larry in
Tuscan and Alex Mack 5/19/99). Disruptive students are out
of detention and safetly away from school by 4:20, also
rumored to be the time that you should dose to be peaking
when the Dead went on stage Hart. The Waldos were a
group of teens back in the 70 s that lived in San Rafael, CA.
420 was the way they talked about pot in front of teachers,
non-smoking family members etc. Also it was the time of day
they could just go relax, and get baked. (PhunkCellar)
Jamaicans purportedly worked till 4 then walked home then
lit up. They would talk 420 like our parents talked about after
5. That s when partying began Larry in Tuscan). Albert (not
Abbie) Hofmann supposedly first encountered LSD at 4:20
p.m. on 4/19/1943 (Bart Coleman citing Storming Heaven by
Jay Stevens, recommended by Mickey Hart in Planet Drum).
Surrealist painter Miro was born April 20, 1893. And
www.filmspeed.com says the propoganda film Reefer
Madness has a copyright date of April 20, 1936 (i.e. 4/20).
(Patrick Woolford)
Misc: Could be that it comes from hydroponics, the practice
of cultivating plants in water often used by indoor marijuana
cultivators, since 4 is used for H on a calculator (420/H20).
(Nick Lowe 3/30/00) The number 80 (eight) is quatre vingt
(pronounced cah-truh vahn), meaning four (times} twenty.
Dan Nijjar 1/27/00 (No connection yet between the number
80 and pot. A quarter pound is roughly 120 grams, rounding
quarter-ounces to 7.5.) The titanic was supposed to arrive
4/20/1912. (Thanks to RB.) Perhaps the heavy use of vt420
terminals in the Berkeley area is to blame? (BTW, 420 in
binary code is 110100100.)


Now there s a 420 Pale Ale. One of the late-97/early-98 Got
Milk ads featured a character eating cookies without milk and
then passing a sign that reads Next Rest Area 420 miles (as Ross
Bruning). Reportedly, all of the clocks in the movie Pulp Fiction
are stuck on 4:20. Shirts with the number 420 on the red-and-blue
interstate highway shield (Interstate 420?) have show up on the
sitcom Will and Grace (Paul Risenhoover 5/14/99) and in several
videos. UPS labelling software has a 420 postal code legend for
next-day/2-day deliveries (which is how Phish tickets are sent).
(Jack Lebowitz 10/3/98) MTV s 1997 Viewer s Choice Award (for
the MTV Video Awards) was decided by calls to
1-800-420-4MTV. And by May of 1998, the number was
appearing in so many ads (eg Copenhagen 5/14/98 Rolling Stone
p54, Corvette p55 5/98 Car & Driver) that its presence is
presumed to be intentional. Many songs are around 4 minutes 20
seconds long (since many songs fall between 2:30 and 5:30),
including for example Pink Floyd s A Great Day for Freedom (on
The Division Bell, 1994), the Foo Fighters My Hero, and
Smokin from Boston s first album. There have also been some
420 references on The Simpsons. In the re-run episode aired on
April 20th, 1999 at a special time (probably in honor of those
college students staying in the holiday spirit ;-), Homer mentions to
Flanders that Barney s birthday is April 20th. Also, the jackpot sign
in one part of the casino says $420,000. There are a couple less
concrete ones, but these two have to be legit, especially since they
decided to air THAT particular episode on 4/20/99. (Submitted by
Matt Meehan 4/21/99) And (as of Fall 99) the 60 free minutes that
Working Assets Long Distance offers, at the 7 cents per minute
rate, is $4.20 free. There s even a band named 420, and another
names . In the first fifteen pages of Karel Capek s novel War with
the Newts, a man diving under wonder stayed down for four
minutes and twenty seconds. Grant Garstka 1/6/00 At the
suggested retail price ($3.96) and Michigan (6%) sales tax, a deck
of Uno cards costs $4.20. Nic Boris 4:20 marks the first downbeat
of the drums in Led Zeppelin s epic Stairway to Heaven. (Dan
Harris) The bill authorizing force after the World Trade Center
attacks of 9/11/01 passed 420 to 1, and news reports in following
months noted many times that there are (or were then, anyway) 420
airports in the U.S. Allan Morris And don t forget that Adolf Hitler
was born on April 20, macabely celebrated (or at least
referenced) via the Columbine High School shootings.

Phish-related Occurances

Whatever the origin, the number appears frequently... For the
summer 1997 tour, TicketMaster service charges were $4.20. In
the Fall 1997 Doniac Schvice Dry Goods section, a limited edition
Pollack poster printed on 100% hemp is order number 420P. The
Great Went was 420 miles from Boston (former home of Phish).
The official logo includes 4 gills and 20 bubbles (Gringo
11/12/98). As of 6/15/97, including covers and originals, Phish
had performed a total of 420 songs (thought its 486 by 4/24/98).
(David Steinberg). Lawnboy is 420megs of memory. Patrick
Walker Phish s The Vibration of Life underlies a whirling loop
with Seven Beats per second (which makes 420 beats per minute.)
Trey has used the altered line woke up at 4:20 in Makisupa
Policeman, which also often indirectly celebrates 420ing, e.g. by
mention of goo balls. One of the funniest shirts around takes light
jabs at both the 4:20 phenomenon and the rumored evolution
(collapse?) of the Phish.Net (especially rec.music.phish) from
being Gamehendge to Flamehendge, and beyond. The first day of
the Great Went started at 4:20 (with Makisupa Policeman. (The
second day started late, at 4:37.) Noah Cole The first single from
Slip Stitch and Pass was played on WBCN 10/14/97 at 4:20 pm.
An uproar at 12/31/96 can be heard on tape during the 2001, in
response to an enormous digital clock (which was counting down
to midnight) reaching 11:55:40 and reading -4:20. (Yoda)
During the 9-12-00 2001, Trey hits the first riff right at 4:20 into
the intro jam. (Cal 2/25/01) Some mail order tickets for the 1997
New Year s run were in section 420. The first Mass Pike toll
leaving Oswego was $4.20. (Camille Heath ) And the standard
shipping for The Phish Companion through Amazon was
originally $4.20.

420 Shows: Phish performed on April 20 in 1989, 1990, 1991,
1993, and 1994. The first day of the Great Went started at 4:20,
although that was called a soundcheck by Trey after three songs.
The Jazzfest Harry Hood 4-26-96 started at about 4:20 reported by
Trevor. At Big Cypress, David Bowie was playing at 4:20 a.m.
And the one event during the hiatus (10/8/00 - ?) featuring all
four members - for Jason Colton s wedding - was 12/1/01, 420
from: http://www.phish.net/faq/n420.html:

$$, too (4, Insightful)

gralem (45862) | more than 12 years ago | (#3772903)

I'm filing a suit against all US currency! It's unconstitutional!!!

Re:$$, too (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3772922)

How are we going to pay you if you win?

Please note that . . . Re:$$, too (3, Informative)

StefanJ (88986) | more than 12 years ago | (#3772973)

"In God We Trust" was added to US currency in the 1950s, a few years after the Pledge of Allegiance was amended.


I imagine the legislations to add these were made in the same spirit as attempts to put the Ten Commandments in schools and courtrooms.

Re:Please note that . . . Re:$$, too (2)

MaxwellStreet (148915) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773031)

Yep ... right about the time that all those southern states (Georgia notably) starting putting the confederate stars & bars in protest of the Jim Crow laws getting repealed.

Re:Please note that . . . Re:$$, too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3773059)


It (In GOD we trust) was added during the civil war.

http://www.ustreas.gov/education/fact-sheets/cur re ncy/in-god-we-trust.html

Re:$$, too (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773023)

I'm filing a suit against all US currency! It's unconstitutional!!!

If it bothers you that much, I can dispose of it for you ...

First Post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3772910)


Hrmm.. Uncostitutionuhl huh

i pledge, FP, byatch!!!1 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3772914)

first post, under god, with liberty and schiznit for us all.


what's next? (4, Funny)

LuckyJ (56389) | more than 12 years ago | (#3772917)

I wonder when the Consitution will be ruled Unconstititional? Maybe next week...

Thats not Funny (-1)

DonkeyHote (521235) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773078)

Might I Suggest:

1. -1 Offtopic
2. -1 Redundant

You CHM will go to hell and face the creator for your moderating sins, I hope god takes mercy on your souls.

Just the "Under God" portion... (2, Informative)

HaeMaker (221642) | more than 12 years ago | (#3772920)

...is unconstitutional. There was a seperate law tha t added those words during the Red Scare. The rest of the pledge is fine.

it's tainted (1, Insightful)

sydlexic (563791) | more than 12 years ago | (#3772944)

since the pledge is not the pledge by law without those words, the entire pledge is unconstitutional until it's returned to it's original condition.

Thats not the way GOD wanted it (-1)

DonkeyHote (521235) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773025)

..If god was here he'd tell you that each day we must pledge loyalty to him or face an eternity in the pits of hell... I love this country.

Re:Just the "Under God" portion... (1)

robson (60067) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773010)

Just the "Under God" portion... is unconstitutional. There was a seperate law tha t added those words during the Red Scare. The rest of the pledge is fine.

Damn it... where are the mod points when you need them? This is exactly the point -- it's just those two words (which were added in 1954) that were determined to be unconstitutional.

Re:Just the "Under God" portion... (3, Interesting)

anthony_dipierro (543308) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773096)

This is exactly the point -- it's just those two words (which were added in 1954) that were determined to be unconstitutional.

No, it's the forced reciting of those two words in public schools which was determined to be unconstitutional. The adding of the two words is fine.

In other news... (-1)

CmdrTaco (troll) (578383) | more than 12 years ago | (#3772924)

The supreme court ruled that trolling is funstitutional.

Calm Down (1, Insightful)

SpaFF (18764) | more than 12 years ago | (#3772928)

This is only the Court in the State of California.
This is not a nationwide decision. I'm sure the U.S. Supreme court will strike it down.

Re:Calm Down (1)

Dephex Twin (416238) | more than 12 years ago | (#3772948)

No, the ruling goes for 9 states in the west, not just California.


Re:Calm Down (2, Informative)

jasamaman (221350) | more than 12 years ago | (#3772961)

No, this is a FEDERAL court, that was LOCATED in San Fransisco. It DOES have national implications.

Re:Calm Down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3772976)

Why would they strike the decision down? The statement endorses religion.

Re:Calm Down (1)

FatherOfONe (515801) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773086)

Hmmm and what was the U.S.A founded on?

Why do I see a time comming when the U.S. separates in to three countries. The east cost and west cost and the rest of the country.

Re:Calm Down (2)

dalassa (204012) | more than 12 years ago | (#3772977)

Just why is reciting the pledge every morning so important? I had to do it everyday in elementary school and it didn't make me any more patriotic. Instead it made one in the class an object of minor ridicule because she had to go outside while it was recited. I always used to make strange sentences instead of saying it as it should be and that got me more than a few notes home.

Re:Calm Down (1)

VikingBerserker (546589) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773014)

That's not entirely correct. Although the court itself is located in CA, it serves a number of west coast states on a Federal level. As a result, we're all affected.

The only level that can strike it down now is the U.S. Supreme Court. Let's hope they do so.

Re:Calm Down (1)

KCRWreck (187956) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773075)

Actually, it can also go before the FULL 9th Federal Court as well as the Supreme Court.

Just FYI

Currency (0, Redundant)

Fez (468752) | more than 12 years ago | (#3772930)

So I guess the new colored US money probably shouldn't say "In God We Trust" on it.

But I guess since the currency isn't properly backed, you have to trust someone/thing to vouch for its worth, eh?

Re:Currency (1)

ajmarks (447148) | more than 12 years ago | (#3772958)

Are you seriously espousing the goldbacker stance? You do realize that the US economy would not have been able to grow as it has under a gold or precious metals standard.

Re:Currency (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773073)

You do realize that WorldCom, Enron, Global Crossing, et alia wouldn't have been able to have reported growth as they did under an honest accounting standard.

please... (1)

farfolen (567038) | more than 12 years ago | (#3772932)

pffffffffffffffft...allow me to excercise my first amendment right in saying that this ruling is crap and won't stand up if it makes it past this level of apellate court. hell, probably won't make it past a gathering of the entire court (this ruling was made by a "panel", or portion of the actual court it's ruling was handed down from. they can call the rest of the court in order to rule on it again, which is probably what will happen).

Thank God! (-1)

DonkeyHote (521235) | more than 12 years ago | (#3772933)

At least someone has some common sense. God has no place in schools!

Troll Scholar

Not Pledge, But Act Of Congress Adding "Under God" (2, Informative)

sqlzealot (553596) | more than 12 years ago | (#3772935)

The court has struck down the specific 1954 act of congress inserting "Under God" into the pledge.

Eisenhower's Fault (5, Informative)

e1en0r (529063) | more than 12 years ago | (#3772937)

It was Eisenhower who added the "under God" part of the Pledge of Allegiance. You can read about it here [earthlink.net] .

Re:Eisenhower's Fault (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3773016)

Man, Eisenhower really fucked a bunch of things up, didn't he? I hate that guy.

We're still recovering from Eisenhower's America, and not very well.

Re:Eisenhower's Fault (0, Troll)

Jonny Ringo (444580) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773054)

Maybe it was God's fault for existing.

Simmer down (3, Insightful)

Torgo's Pizza (547926) | more than 12 years ago | (#3772939)

Before the comments start to get out of hand, I'd like to point out that this will almost certainly be overturned by the Supreme Court. The Ninth Circuit has pulled this stunt many a time before, only to have it overturned or reverse itself later.

Re:Simmer down (2, Informative)

farfolen (567038) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773003)

in all likelihood, if it makes it to the supreme court level, the court will just refuse to hear it. they've made comments in previous rulings that said the actual text of the pledge wasn't unconstitutional...only coercing people to speak it (i.e. requiring it).

Whats so hard to understand? (1)

damu (575189) | more than 12 years ago | (#3772942)

about the seperation of church and state?


Re:Whats so hard to understand? (2, Insightful)

fscking_coward_2001 (236799) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773057)

I believe the US constitution *does not* say anything about "separation of Church and State", but does say that the State will not establish a religion. If you think about it, these are two different concepts, albeit closely related.

Re:Whats so hard to understand? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3773080)

Well, it's not in the Constitution, it isn't how this country was set up (there were established State churches until 1833, and the US was an officially Christian nation until the late 1940s) The whole concept of this republic is that we had no king but Jesus, so that ultimate sovereignty didn't rest with men, so that we could have a limited government.

Under God is just a statement of our political relation to God.

It doesn't mean that the citizenry are going to be forced to go to a particular establishment of religion, like the Southern Baptists or the Unitarians.

why is this on slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3772947)

I mean, really. I would hardly call this news for nerds. And, although it matters, it's much more appropriate for a law related site.

Re:why is this on slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3772986)

fine, then don't read it. besides, didn't you get the memo: this is news for LIBERTARIAN FUCKWITS now. nerds are passe.

Re:why is this on slashdot? (1)

The_THOMAS (459846) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773068)

Because nerds tend to be intelligent enough to realize there is no santa or at the very least, including a pledge to santa within a pledge to Country is contrary to the reason one would pledge to this Country.


Re:why is this on slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3773069)

Yes, good point. And by "good" I mean "bad".

On a website very often concerned with constitutional rights and freedom, etc., this is of interest to a large number of Slashdotters.

Obviously since /. was flooded with submissions about this article, this idea is further confirmed.

Get over it.

I pledge alleigance to the RIAA (1, Funny)

neitzsche (520188) | more than 12 years ago | (#3772952)

and to the corporations for which it stands,
One fascist organization, under what's-his-name
with tyanny, and injustice for all.

Re:I pledge alleigance to the RIAA (0)

pmanheier (316056) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773047)

Shouldn't you be saying "God is Dead"???

Re:I pledge alleigance to the RIAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3773083)

Oh god please go get laid or something you fucking no-life Linux loving hippie prick.

As reported on the better site... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3772953)

Millions of American schoolchildren --- including almost all adults who grew up in the US --- have for two generations recited a daily pledge of allegiance in schools. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals today ruled that pledge to be a violation of the US Constitution. Social conservatives are outraged, liberals are smirking, and many of us are just stunned.

Background on the Pledge of Allegiance

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

And to the republic for which it stands

one nation, indivisible,

with liberty and justice for all

The Pledge of Allegiance was written by a Christian Socialist activist in 1892. Heavily promoted by the magazine The Youth's Companion, at the time one of the largest weekly magazines in the United States (it was eventually merged into the magazine American Boy, which was owned by the Atlantic Monthly), which was also involved in a movement to place American flags over every schoolhouse in the country. By 1905, a majority of the non-southern states had passed laws requiring schools to fly the flag, and it was already customary at that time to require students to recite the pledge daily. Eventually, most states passed laws requiring the daily recitation of the pledge of allegiance. (In some states, students are also required to sing the national anthem).

The wording of the pledge was codified into US law by Congress in 1942; in 1954, the wording of the pledge was changed by Congress, which added the phrase 'under God', making the line 'one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." This modified phrasing was adopted by schools across the country, and has remained intact to this day.

Background on the case

Michael Newdow, an atheist living in the state of California, sued the state on the ground that the California Education Code requirement that each school day begin with appropriate patriotic exercises including but not limited to the giving of the pledge of allegiance, and the school district's requirement that each elementary school class recite the pledge of allegiance daily compels his daughter 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 therefore constituted a state establishment of religion, prohibited by the first amendment (and, by extension through the fourteenth amendment, to states and school districts, which are sub-units of the states). His petition asked the court to order the President to modify the pledge to delete the offending section.

The decision

The 9th circuit analyzed the law establishing the pledge of allegiance using three legal tests used in establishment cases. (The Lemon test, which has mostly fallen into disfavor but has not been explicitly repudiated, requires government conduct to have a secular purpose, neither advance nor inhibit religion, and must not foster government entanglement with religion. The "coercion test" requires that government conduct not coerce anyone to support or participate in religion or its exercise. The "endorsement test" requires that government not endorse a religion and "send a message to nonadherents that they are outsiders".). The court ruled that:

  • The inclusion of the phrase under God in the pledge is an endorsement of religious belief.
  • Reciting the pledge as it is currently codified is to swear allegiance to monotheism.
  • The pledge as currently codified fails the coercion test.
  • The inclusion of the phrase under God was *explicitly* done to promote a religious purpose, and therefore the pledge as currently codified fails the Lemon test.
The court concluded that the 1954 act adding "under God" to the pledge of allegiance is unconstitutional, and that the school district policy requiring daily recital is as well.

Future steps

The decision is only binding in the area covered by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals - California, Arizona, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and Hawaii - but would require school districts in that area to cease reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance. It is expected that the school district will appeal, in which case the decision will most likely be heard by the US Supreme Court sometime next year. A copy of the opinion is here [findlaw.com] .

Yeah... (0, Troll)

JanusFury (452699) | more than 12 years ago | (#3772954)

It's not like our country protects us with military and law enforcement or anything. We don't owe them nothing, 'specially no dumb 'pledge of allegiance'.

Re:Yeah... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3773061)

Tell me: did it require a lot of effort to be as collossally stupid as you are now? Or is it natural talent?

Re:Yeah... (2)

Oztun (111934) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773093)

them == us, doh!

What is this country coming to? (0, Troll)

ktulu1115 (567549) | more than 12 years ago | (#3772966)

This is totally absurd. The foundation and tradition of our country has been deemed 'unconstitutional' Could someone please explain what this country is going to? The next thing you know it will be illegial or unlawful to utter the word 'God' in public. So much for the founding fathers with their Christian beliefs.

The founding fathers were Deists (5, Insightful)

Zen Mastuh (456254) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773077)

Besides, how can a 48-year-old amendment be "The foundation and tradition of our country"? Stop hyperventilating for a moment and re-read the decision. The amendment to the Pledge of Allegiance favors monotheism, the Semitic religions specifically. This is not the end of the world by any means, just a return to the Constitution.

we're all very, very naughty. (0)

pmanheier (316056) | more than 12 years ago | (#3772970)

I just find it amusing that my generation will probably never take to a revised versionof the pledge. It's practically reflex at this stage to say "under God". Wonder how fast a change to the national anthem would catch on??

One day, (2)

Dr Caleb (121505) | more than 12 years ago | (#3772972)

The Constitution will be unconstitutional and the entire United States will *poof* disappear in a puff of logic, like God in HHGTTG.


ramdac (302865) | more than 12 years ago | (#3772974)

The Constitution of the United States of America

about fscking time (1)

dl248 (67452) | more than 12 years ago | (#3772979)

freaking americans got things right for once.

Re:about fscking time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3773085)

you fuckers noticed for a change

Time will tell... (1)

jbarr (2233) | more than 12 years ago | (#3772984)

From the article:
The 9th Circuit is the most liberal and the most overturned appeals court in the country.
If this is true, this could be overturned.

Yikes. Just yikes. (2)

tempest303 (259600) | more than 12 years ago | (#3772985)

I am so not looking forward to the bile-spitting, spittle-launching, uber-flamewars that this decision is going to spark online and in Real Life(TM).... it'll be like the whole abortion debate, only it'll be over something ultimately rather inconsequential.

Oh well... let the flaming begin! I'll start it off with my own cynical take on it:

Expect the 700 club, with Pat Robertson and all his "Christian" conservative pals start exclaiming that the Gov't is "repressing" religion, and that we've lost our "moral compass" or some other stupid shit.



DaBjork (575727) | more than 12 years ago | (#3772991)

As an athiest and a patriot I have been waiting for this for years! Think about it. What would the founding fathers think of us pledging that we will accept the impetus of government and deny our own right to rebel on a daily basis. In god we trust is the only thing left on the chopping block!

It's all over. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3772993)

Give the country back to the Indians, maybe they can do something with it.

Aren't there worse unconstitutional laws? (1)

norweigiantroll (582720) | more than 12 years ago | (#3772994)

I seem to remember something about "Freedom of Speech" but now the DMCA makes it illegal to tell how to circumvent a copy-protection device.

don't panic (2)

rhaig (24891) | more than 12 years ago | (#3772996)

This court is the most often overturned circuit court.

Even if they aren't overturned, I see this to be similar to the Prayer in schools ruling some years ago.

The 1954 addition of "Under God" will probably be removed if there any changes at all.

Now, for the "In God We Trust" on the money... If a Suit is filed against that, then I respond by saying, the government isn't forcing you to use cash.

For any who are angry... (4, Interesting)

admiral2001 (518452) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773002)

... I ask you to consider a simple scenario. What if this gets repealed, then in 30-40 years, the major religion in the country changes to something else, like Islam. What if there would then be a successful lobby to change 'under God' and 'In God We Trust' to 'under Allah' and 'In Allah We Trust'. How would you react to that?
(Feel free to substitute 'Islam' and 'Allah' with any appropriate pairing).

I, for one, am completely for this ruling, speaking as a person who always felt uncomfortable mumbling those 2 words in grade school.

Good. (4, Insightful)

MisterBlister (539957) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773004)

Actually I wish the entire idea of a forced Pledge of Allegiance would be done away with.

The separation of church and state is one thing (which I agree with)...But the whole concept of the pledge of allegiance smacks of propaganda and indoctrination.

Don't get me wrong, I'm no commie-hippe-whatever. Hell, I don't even use Linux... But forcing kids to pledge their allegiance to flag/country/god/whatever every day just smacks of so much wrongness. Let these ideas stand on their own merits, not be points of indoctrination.

And lastly, I think if anything a forced pledge of allegiance is self-harming in that, due to having to say it each day kids view it as some form of rote punishment. The words behind the pledge are lost because they learn to recite them like robots long before they can really understand the implications of the words. Why do this?

Not from around here, are ya? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3773032)

Hell, I don't even use Linux

This of course begs the question: what the hell are you doing on /.???

Another Example of Over Legislation (1)

Real World Stuff (561780) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773006)

Another look at the story [msnbc.com] .

The case was brought by Michael A. Newdow, a Sacramento atheist who acted as his own attorney. Newdow objected because his second-grade daughter was required to recite the pledge at the Elk Grove Unified School District.

Finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3773009)

I've always thought that "under God" violated the concept of separation of church and state. For those of you that think it's ok, how would you feel if it was "under Allah" instead?

Judge Alfred T. Goodwin (0, Flamebait)

mrbrown1602 (536940) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773012)

Fox News Channel gave out the Judge's phone #. You can complain to him at (415) 556-9800.

Thats awesome (2, Insightful)

Aqua OS X (458522) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773017)

I really really hate the pledge. I'm glad something was done about this.

"One nation under God"...ehhh gag me. And since when has the US actually lived up to "liberty and justice for all?"

The 2 emails I sent to CNN... (2)

macemoneta (154740) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773021)

1- I agree that the term "under God" should be removed from the pledge. The pledge was valid before 1954, and it will continue to be valid after the current ruling. Our country was founded on the principle of religious freedom, and that includes the freedom to abstain from religious belief. In order to insure that freedom, our founding fathers had the foresight to include the separation of church and state into our constitution. The reference to a deity on the pledge implies the need to believe in a god, in order to assert allegiance to our country. That was not and should not be the intent of pledge.

2- The point that many of those complaining about this judgment are missing is that this is not about religious belief vs. atheists. There are many, many religions in this world and in this country. Some do not believe in a deity, and some do not believe in a single deity. The pledge statement "under god" excludes not only atheists as some believe (still wrong), but many non-Judeo- Christian religions as well. Many people forget that their personal beliefs are not the beliefs of all, and imposing those beliefs on others is wrong. This is why we have separation of church and state.

my $ is unconstitutional. (1)

schmuckie (588496) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773022)

clearly unconstitutional because my washingtons say "IN GOD WE TRUST"

Atheists are worse then Fundies (2, Flamebait)

jsimon12 (207119) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773033)

Newdow acknowledged that his daughter was not required to say the pledge in school. But he claimed in court documents her rights were violated when she was 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.' "

I am sorry but atheists really freaking piss me off sometimes. All they ever want to talk about is how they "Don't belive in God" and "Don't push your religion on me". Damn it, they are worse then Fundies. This guy should have just told his daughter that she didn't have to say it and go on with life, but instead he has taken something sacred to the majority of the people in the country and pissed all over it. Oh well, whats next, American Flag bog rolls?

But does that constitute establishing religion? (1)

jaaron (551839) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773036)

I can understand why many people might support this and being active in my own religion I can also understand why a lot of people will be upset at this. My question is though, how does saying "under God" classify as establishing a religion? I'm not trying to start a flame here, but seriously? Isn't that a bit of a stretch? I firmly believe in seperation of church and state, but what I don't want to see (and what sometimes appears to be a trend) is the censorship of religious belief in public life.

Excellent (4, Insightful)

Deagol (323173) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773041)

As an atheist myself, I always felt uncomfortable with The Pledge. I still find a mandatory recitation of it too close to the 2 Minutes of Hate (or whatever), but just in the other extreme.

My 7-year-old daughter, who attends public school in Utah, is always coming home with little sayings and tidbits about Jesus and god. I haven't jumped on the school or her teacher just yet, but I may if it continues.

Thers's nothing wrong with religion, in terms of personal choice. However, children are too young to contemplate the philosophical and metaphysical consequences of a religiouos faith. Hell, even many seemingly intelligent adults can't give a good reason for their faith (or for their denouncement of my lack of it).

I wish religious followers would leave children alone and let informed adults come to them when they reach an age appropraite to do so.

instead of 'under God'... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3773044)

how about we change it to "...under the respective monotheistic deity or polytheistic deities if that belief is appropriate under the tenets of the professed religion, or under goodwill towards the US if the freedom granted under the Constiution's Establishment Clause is so executed in not choosing to profess faith in any of the world's religions..."

I think this is good (-1)

cmdr_shithead (527909) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773049)

yes it is

Most likely will be overturned (2, Informative)

joncue (541265) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773050)

The ruling was not put forth by the entire court, just by a three judge panel, with one of the panel members noting that the supreme court already found the pledge constitutional. The government will most likely ask that the entire court hear the case, where, according to NPR, the panel will probably be overturned.

i HATE when people phrase it that way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3773051)

It really drives me crazy when people approach the public debate on this particular subject this way.

Now, think about it: What do you think when you read the words "Pledge of Allegiance Rulled Unconstitutional"? When *i* read those words, i assume that we're discussing the pledge of allegiance being declared illegal somehow, that it violates the constitution.

But the pledge of allegiance hasn't been ruled unconstitutional. It's been ruled unconstitutional for schools to push the pledge of allegience on people.

Likewise, when a local texas court ruled that the school couldn't have people say prayers over the school sound system before school football games, all the papers reported this as "Prayers at school football games banned" and all the alarmists went around yelling "Prayer at schools has been banned! Oh no!". But it hadn't been banned, it was just that the courts said the government couldn't endorse religion that way. Church youth groups could still go and stand around the flagpole and pray, and religious-themed student groups could still form and reserve rooms and such. But because public discourse had twisted it such that it seemed people were actually being prohibhited from doing something, everyone went around bitching about how unfair this was.

It's enough to make you think that the people writing the headlines had somehow specifically phrased it that way so skimmers would walk away with a misconception of what had happened, and that people would go into the debate with some kind of subliminal bias against what the court had done, and the skimmers will have some kind of subliminal idea that the Constitution is some document that "bans" people from doing things, rather than clearly demarcating symbolic areas of control the government has no authority to enter. Hm.

Saying a school administrator must do something a certain way is not "banning" anything, or trampling on anyone's rights. It is telling a state employee how to do their job. Why can't we discuss it that way?

Why can't we have the headline be something like "Pledge of allegience ruled unconstitutional for schools"?

Possibly a shocker but no real surprise (2)

donutz (195717) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773060)

What with kids not able to have a prayer at school, I'm not really surprised that the "under God" section of the Pledge would be called unconstitutional. Of course, we can debate till the cows come home just what the constitution means in regards to freedom of religion/freedom from religion/etc...

Anyways, I say to the Supreme Court, let this ruling stand. God has no place in school....Kids don't need God.

And what's with our currency saying "In God We Trust"? I thought there was some story about God getting pissed about people worshipping a golden calf, now he's forced to deal with his name promoting his least favorite idol? Hopefully he's still as patient as he was in the New Testament....we don't stand a chance against the wrath of the Old Testament God....

I can see it now... (5, Insightful)

phraktyl (92649) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773063)

...one Nation, under your choice of a single diety, a pantheon of dieties, or no dieties at all, indivisible...

Are /. headlines getting more inflamatory... (2)

gdyas (240438) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773064)

...or is it just me?

First of all, just the under God part, added in 1954, is unconstitutional. And it's not that people cannot say the pledge, just that teachers cannot lead the class in the pledge because it constitutes an "establishment of religion" by the state, both in intent going by remarks made during its passing by Pres. Eisenhower et al, and by the judges' analysis of the purpose and phrasing of the clause in the pledge.

Lastly, this only applies in the western states covered under the 9th circuit and is certain to go straight to the Supremes.

Can't say it's a bad thing, IMO. Not a big deal to me, but I can understand feeling excluded if you're Hindu | Buddhist | Jainist | Shintoist | etc. But ne'er you worry, conservative kiddies. The Rehnquist/Scalia/Thomas/O'Connor/Souter group'll hit this one out of the park for you.

CmdrTaco - US flag desecrator and Anti-Delawarian! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3773065)

As noted on the Smithsonian Institution's site [si.edu] , the first official American flag had thirteen stars and thirteen stripes, each representing one of the thirteen original states.

The flag icon for Slashdot's 'United States' section is missing its first stripe - the stripe that represents Delaware, the first state admitted to the Union. While a simple oversight could be forgiven, it should be known from here on out that Slashdot is in fact aware of the missing stripe, and even worse, refuses to do anything about it! [sf.net]

This vulgar flag desecration and rabid anti-Delawarism must be put to a stop. Let the Slashdot crew know that we will not accept a knowingly mutilated flag or the insinuation that Delawarians deserve to be cut out of the union. I ask you, what has Delaware done to deserve this insolence, this wanton disregard, this bigotry?

This intentional disregard of a vital national symbol is unpatriotic. Why, the flippant remarks CmdrTaco made about our flag border on terrorism! I urge you to join the protest in each 'United States' story. Sacrifice your karma for your country by pointing out this injustice. Let's all work together to get our flag back. Can you give your country any less?

In related news - Money declared unconsitutional (1, Redundant)

Dr_LHA (30754) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773071)

Every note and coin in my pocket has the words - "In God We Trust" on it. ;-)

Money problems (5, Funny)

ocie (6659) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773072)

This makes your paper currency unconstitutional. Please mail it to me for proper disposal.


Just wondering... (1)

jasamaman (221350) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773081)

Did the ruling say that it should be changed to "One nation over God"?

Pushing monotheism (4, Funny)

totallygeek (263191) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773084)

This can be fixed by changing it to

One nation, under G[g]od(s)*, indivisible...

* or under no devine rule

I don't see what the fuss is. I doubt seriously that all Christians or even monotheistic theologists agree on all tenants of what God is. So, what Eisenhower thought God was and what he expected "his" nation to envision shouldn't be any different than our money mentioning "In God We Trust". I don't see too many people giving up money because of the statement on the bills and coins.

Pledge is Voluntary, unlike money..... (0)

Moderator (189749) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773087)

The pledge is totally voluntary, unlike money, where I have to put my hands on God's filthy name every time I make a tranaction. I think our nation's motto "In God We Trust" should be looked into as well.

Finally! (1)

cstec (521534) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773088)

I'm really glad this finally was addressed. Now I'm a parent and was faced with the problem of trying to explain to my kid that he has to lie about his feelings and pretend to go along with the other drones. I'm amazed to find out that the 'under God' was a hack added on later, but it makes sense now. I hated it as it has been, but take that out, and the Pledge is something I'm proud to express; a pledge to America, not just America the Deist. I'm sick of the New Christian Inquisition; It's about time America stood for freedom again.

An atheist's point of view. (5, Funny)

fmaxwell (249001) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773090)

As an atheist, all I can say about this ruling is "Thank God!"


How about (2, Funny)

H1r0Pr0tag0n1st (449433) | more than 12 years ago | (#3773097)

...One nation, Under the sky in which may dwell a deity, If you happen to belive in that, or not. Indivisable, exept for those of us who have nothing better to do than file stupid lawsuits and bicker about unimportant BS. With liberty and justice, for those who can afford it and don't piss off John Ashcroft.

Please take this as the joke it is. Because surely if I can't laugh about this I'm going to cry.

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