Say A Little Prayer For Our constitution And Bill Of Rights
By Stephen Simac
It would have been hard to find a congressperson last month that wasn't risking sunstroke on the steps of the nations Capitol reciting the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag, Under God and the blazing sun. Senators were busy pledging indoors for TV. The only ones who weren't standing with their hands over their hearts were hiding in the atheists' closet.
Our federal representatives were proudly showing their devotion to the red, white and blue and the Almighty because of a 9th circuit federal court decision. A panel of three judges ruled that public schools could not require children to say the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag because it promotes a state religion, namely one that believes we live "Under God."
Promoting a state religion is not kosher according to our constitution and the Bill of Rights. Naturally the justices stayed their decision a day after they made it when faced with a religious mob wanting to lynch them for upholding the constitution. These documents don't fly as well from a flagpole or gas guzzlers' antennae, but along with the Declaration of Independence they actually represent what this nation stands for, not the flag. Because the flag is a symbol, which trumps logic, it is extremely popular in America because the majority favors emotionalism over rational thought.
Star Spangled Underwear
In many ways the fuss about "under God" is like complaining about the elephant in the living room because it's not wearing diapers. Why are we pledging allegiance to a flag instead of the constitution, the Bill of Rights and the principles that formed and maintained our nation for two centuries?
As schoolchildren we heard about how Betsy Ross stayed up all night stitching the star spangled banner. We've tried to sing along how it "was still waving o'er all" before any game. This is more basic to our education than the three R's in public schools.
Most Americans leave high school having never even read the words that proclaim freedom, justice and liberty for all. Students aren't even taught the basics of voting so very few bother with the most fundamental responsibility of citizens in a democracy. They are trained to think it doesn't make a difference and as long as they abstain they are right.
It's an unfortunate corollary to this ignorance that most Americans don't even want the Bill of Rights to be enforced when told what they are. At least for anyone except themselves. These are the civil rights and freedom from tyranny which we are supposedly fighting the "War on Terrorism" to preserve.
Patriot Act Is Unpatriotic
This national ignorance is why our representatives are eager to pledge to lie submissively under God and the blood stained banner. Yet they didn't even bother to read the 400 page anti-terrorism bill they almost unanimously passed last fall. If they had they might have noticed the "USA PATRIOT Act" totally shredded the civil liberties guaranteed by the constitution which they swore to uphold.
The senators who want to add another amendment to it, one prohibiting desecration of the Flag, show a measure of their low regard for the constitution. This has been called the first amendment that would actually eliminate a civil right instead of guaranteeing more.
They claim to be upset about protesters burning the national banner, which is the acceptable method of disposing of old flags. If they included banning flying them from cars and draping them over any available surface they might gain my support. If we can't trust politicians to obey their primary oath to protect the constitution, then why should we believe that their mass Pledge of Allegiance means a damn thing? Nobody believes these pledgers aren't busy sinning up a storm every day including the Sabbath, so why accept their religious piety as anything but a farce?
Yet we do. Voters demand the ritual bowing of the head from their representatives to God, even though they don't expect it to make a damn bit of difference in their behavior. It's been said you won't find an atheist in a foxhole, but it's more accurate in Congress. At least in public. Even Bill Clinton who broke most of the Ten Commandments before breakfast was always ready to mumble "God Bless America and all it's fat little chillren."
Swear Or Affirm
It's a mark of citizens who pride themselves on being "Know Nothings" to claim the Founding Fathers were so religious they had arthritic knees from getting down on them so often. Their grasp of history is so tenuous they've confused them with the turkey eating pilgrims and Puritans. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Almost every signer of the Declaration of Independence, who risked swinging from a hempen rope, was a high level Free Mason. This secretive organization has been accused of many things, but religious zealotry or intolerance is not among them.
Their declaration boldly affirmed the rights of Man to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness according to the "laws of Nature and Nature's god." That sounds like they were Pagans.
Most of the men we revere as founding fathers were Deists or rational Christians, basically Unitarians. Thomas Jefferson wrote, "Lasting Freedom will not be achieved until the last Tyrant is strangled with the intestines of the last Priest." Or something like that.
Anyway most were dead set against supporting any type of state religion and the United States has prospered because of this. We've avoided the worst excesses of the priests and preachers and their Inquisitions. Even in the midst of our cyclical Spiritual Revivals this country has never been as fervently religious as the Muslim countries with their mullahs and ayatollahs.
Our most rabid law and order types don't think cutting off hands for stealing is appropriate punishment. Even the most orthodox of rabbis have abandoned the biblical injunction to stone a woman to death if she is raped without crying out.
God Bless This Bomb
Afghanistan was the most religious of countries for a while and look where that got them. They chose the "carpet of bombs" over the "carpet of gold" offered them by a state department official last summer to get with the Unocal gas pipeline program or get out.
Our leaders wouldn't hesitate to choose cash or check over principles. For most of American history our primary religion has been In Gold we Lust. And that's why it's printed on our money.
There's never been any shortage of religious tyrants who have demanded that their version of faith become promoted publicly at state expense. Only the constitution and competition between the various sects have prevented one species of dogma from gaining dominance over the rest.
Now this Supreme Court, forever disgraced by their judicial appointment of Bush despite their alleged principles of state's rights, is eager to turn America into a theocracy.
Knights Of Columbus Over All
Justice Antonin Scalia, a devout Roman Catholic would like to lead the way. In a recent speech he stated that "people of faith" should "combatÉ the tendency of democracy to obscure the divine authority behind government." Remember our democracy rejected the idea that political authority is derived from the divine. Ours is a "government of the people, by the people, and for the people."
Scalia is an avowed papist, and Protestants should take heed that Rome could be calling his shots. Making our schoolchildren say the pledge of allegiance was promoted by the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic version of the Free Masons. The pledge itself was originally written by a pinko socialist and didn't even include "under God" until the 50's.
There's nothing wrong with a little prayer, except when it's state mandated. Praying has been shown to improve health, but even the most devout have to admit that God is fickle in answering their petitions. The length of time spent kneeling in supplication correlates only with arthritic spurs, which neither prayer nor surgery has been shown to benefit.
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