Heart and Soul

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


I cannot believe what I just heard on a local news report. In fact, the words spoken by the broadcaster were so unbelievable that I waited for the next newscast to absolutely ensure that what I heard was correct.

Unfortunately, everything I heard was true.

The gist of the radio report is that a judge has decreed that reciting the pledge of allegiance in American public high schools is against the law because the word “God” in included in the pledge.

Is this some kind of bad joke?

Is it really possible that high school students across the United States will now no longer begin their day by reaffirming their loyalty to their homeland with words that generations before them have proudly learned and repeated?

There have been a lot of wacky court rulings over the last few years, but this one is absolutely the most infuriating and unacceptable that I can recall.

From what I understand, the reason for the ruling is a lawsuit brought against the United States by an attorney/physician Michael Newdow, on behalf of three parents and their children. Newdow previously brought the same lawsuit against the US on behalf of his own daughter. In that suit he was stonewalled by the US. Supreme Court who ruled that he had no right to sue as he is not the child’s custodial parent. So this time, apparently Dr. Lawyer Newdow borrowed three families to further his anti-pledge cause.

What concerns me about this whole muddled mess is that a lawsuit such as this can be seriously considered. I mean really---can the fact that the pledge contains the words, “Under God” really cause a high school student to suffer some kind of religious angst?

As I recall, most kids reciting the pledge of allegiance first thing in the morning were barely awake and hardly focused on anything other than standing up without falling asleep. I’d like to meet the young man or woman who finds the two word phrase so disturbing that they feel driven to beg their parent or parents to actively sue an entire country to change a century-long, revered national tradition.

At this point I don’t know what the long-term fall out of this judge’s ruling will be. Hopefully when the inevitable appeal of the ruling arrives at the US Supreme Court, the justices will again find a way to dismiss the messy suit. But if they don’t then I think the consequences could be disastrous.

At a time in our country when we are still trying to recover from the devastation of the Oklahoma City bombing and the 9/11 tragedies, we are losing valuable American men and women in Iraq everyday, and natural disasters like Katrina are rocking the very core of our nation, I think the last thing we need to do is divide our people even further over the legality of a Pledge of Allegiance to our homeland.

I hope when the time comes, the Supreme Court agrees.
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