Friday, September 16, 2005

Just more right-wing, Christian hypocrisy.


If you ever needed more evidence of the hypocritical, two-faced approach to discourse emanating from the hard right, look no further than this recent U.S. legal decision:

Setting up another likely Supreme Court showdown over the Pledge of Allegiance, a federal judge ruled Wednesday that reciting the pledge in public schools is unconstitutional.

The judge granted legal standing to two families represented by an atheist who lost his previous pledge case before the Supreme Court, and ruled that the reference to one nation "under God" violates their children's right to be "free from a coercive requirement to affirm God."

And where is the hypocrisy, you ask? I'm glad you asked. An excerpt further down in that article describes the legal "rationale" that previous courts have used to defend the inclusion of the religious phrase:

The decisions by Karlton and the 9th Circuit conflict with an August opinion by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va. That court upheld a Virginia law requiring public schools lead daily Pledge of Allegiance recitation, which is similar to the requirement in California.

A three-judge panel of that circuit ruled that the pledge is a patriotic exercise, not a religious affirmation similar to a prayer.

That is, in that previous case and many other cases, the defense has been that the phrase "under God" is no big deal, it's innocuous, it's not actually forcing a religious belief on anyone, it's just a couple of words, no big deal. However, for something that is supposedly no big deal, if you suggest that it then be removed, well, be prepared for an absolute shitstorm of protest and outrage.

You can't be serious, the mouth-breathers will say. How heretical! Why, this is showing sheer contempt for the Judeo-Christian principles on which this great country was founded! This would be kicking God out of the public square and would inevitably lead to moral decline, more teenage pregnancies, abortions, and God only knows what, undoubtedly culminating in the total collapse of Western civilization and the ultimate heat death of the universe! But, they'll say, in the same breath, it's not like those two words are any big deal so we can just leave them in, right?

A related defense is to suggest that the word "God" in that instance isn't really a religious reference -- that it's more some kind of abstract, philosophical, non-religious concept. In other words, to defend the inclusion of the phrase "under God," the religious right take the bizarre approach of suggesting that the word "God" is inherently non-religious. On the other hand, use that word improperly and witness the outrage.

Say, "God damn it!" and have those same folks berate you for intolerable blasphemy. Get a bit pissed and swear, "Jesus H. Christ!" and prepare for the fundamentalist fury that is about to descend. Watch prime time TV and note how, even in an age of increasing profanity, you'll rarely hear phrases like that because it would simply offend too many people -- the same people, of course, who will happily insist that the word "God" in the Pledge of Allegiance has nothing, nothing I tell you, to do with the Judeo-Christian religion and that it's just a generic, feel-good word.

It would be nice if for once, just once, the right-wing nutbars could come up with a coherent argument. And, while we're at it, for me to get a hot stone massage from Eva Longoria. I'm betting on the Eva thing happening first.

BONUS TRACK: The so-called thought process that went into the previous legal decision defending inclusion of the phrase can be found here:

The decisions by Karlton and the 9th Circuit conflict with an August opinion by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va. That court upheld a Virginia law requiring public schools lead daily Pledge of Allegiance recitation, which is similar to the requirement in California.

A three-judge panel of that circuit ruled that the pledge is a patriotic exercise, not a religious affirmation similar to a prayer.

"Undoubtedly, the pledge contains a religious phrase, and it is demeaning to persons of any faith to assert that the words `under God' contain no religious significance," Judge Karen Williams wrote for the 4th Circuit. "The inclusion of those two words, however, does not alter the nature of the pledge as a patriotic activity."

So, even though that lower court clearly understood the idiocy of claiming that the phrase had no religious significance, apparently it was all right to leave it in as long as it was attached to something non-offensive -- the patriotic pledge.

Your American judicial system. The best evidence for the evolutionary missing link there is.

1 comment:

Luna said...

Personally, I think laws requiring schools to force the kids to recite a patriotic pledge are in and of themselves moronic, coercive and just kinda sickening. Talk about indoctrination! Blech.