Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Pledge of Allegiance

I hope that the Supremes agree to hear the Pledge case - despite the fact that the complainants may lack standing. Or rather I should say that I hope they find a way to allow legal standing despite some controversy. And I hope, in what can be the only truly constitutionally sound finding, that they disallow the words "under god."

I think a reporter in today's San Francisco Chronicle got the reasons exactly right:

As a legal matter, the required outcome is plain: A principled application of constitutional law calls for the words to be stricken. As a political matter, however, the case is more complex: It pairs patriotism with religious faith, matters that inflame passions when they arise in isolation and are downright incendiary when they coalesce. But it is precisely because the pledge pairs religion and politics that the phrase must be removed.
We see every day the results of religion and patriotism being paired so closely: read any news report from the Middle East. The non-establishment clause has provided a wall between church and state that has served us well. Even though those who practice minority religions have historically been denigrated by the Judeo-Christian majority, they have not been persecuted as they might have been in other countries with lesser protections.

Something that is never reported in the stories about this case is that the words were not added to the original pledge until 1954 in the wave of political hysteria over "godless communism." There can be no reliance on preserving the original here. I hope the SCOTUS agrees to hear this case, I hope they rule by the constitution; then this can all go away and they can concentrate on more important things - like whether Nino "the Duck Hunter" Scalia should recuse himself from an upcoming hearing of the case of a close friend...

No comments: