Doug Indeap is an atheist and an attorney who disagrees with me about the First Amendment.
The government's inscription of the phrase "In God we trust" on coins and currency, as well as its addition of the words "under God" to the pledge of allegiance in 1954 and adoption of the phrase "In God we trust" as a national motto in 1956, were mistakes, which should be corrected.No problem, Doug. Next election, vote for the guy who agrees with you. When enough people do this, these guys who agree with you will pass legislation to correct the mistake.
Under our Constitution, the government has no business proclaiming that "we trust" "In God."We the People (i.e. the government) do have that right. It's not an establishment of religion, which is the only religious expression the Constitution forbids. There is no compulsion involved-- there are no Trust in God Police knocking on your door making sure that you're trusting in God-- so We the People can use our representative democracy to make any motto we want. 'We Trust in Buddha', 'We Trust in Beyonce', 'We Trust but Verify', 'We Trust No One', 'We Trust Doug'...
Some of us do, and some of us don't; each of us enjoys the freedom to make that choice; the government does not and should not purport to speak for us in this regard.Right, Doug. The Constitution bars the government from saying anything that 312,529,476 Americans don't all agree on.
Are you sure you're a lawyer, Doug?
Nor does the government have any business calling on its citizens to voice affirmation of a god in any circumstances, let alone in the very pledge the government prescribes for affirming allegiance to the country.That's your opinion, of course. You are entitled to work through the democratic process to stop the government from doing that.
What you're not entitled to do is fabricate idiotic interpretations of the Constitution to get a federal judge to order the police to enforce your viewpoint.
And are you really saying that the president doesn't have the right to ask us to pray for our soldiers or say "God Bless America"?
The unnecessary insertion of an affirmation of a god in the pledge puts atheists and other nonbelievers in a Catch 22:"Congress shall make no law putting atheists and other nonbelievers in a Catch 22..."
A Catch 22, Doug, involves putting someone in a logical contradiction, i.e. 'You can get out of combat if you're crazy, but if you want to get out of combat, you not crazy...'. You need to bone up on your Joseph Heller. I think that he wrote a letter to Danbury Baptists...
Public officials talking about God despite the fact that a few atheists don't want them to isn't a logical contradiction. It's a pluralist democracy. If you don't like it, you can ignore it.
Do you really spend that much time reading the inscriptions on dollar bills?
Either recite the pledge with rank hypocrisy or accept exclusion from one of the basic rituals of citizenship enjoyed by all other citizens.That's right, Doug. The Constitution has an amendment prohibiting making you feel bad.
Several hundred million Americans believe that our nation is "under God"? Should they recite a godless pledge with rank hypocrisy and accept exclusion? Don't they have recourse to the same 'Doug can't be made to feel bad' clause that protects you?
When you feel bad, Doug, it's not unconstitutional. It's simply something that bothers you. You have several options when you're asked (not forced) to say something (like the pledge) that bothers you:
1) You can say it. Just like we all say "... with liberty and justice for all" when we know that there is some injustice in America. Heck, Doug, I say it anyway. I've never called the police about it.
2) You can say "... One Nation, (mumble... mumble) with liberty and justice for all." Leave out the God part when you recite it. Let other people include the God part if they want to. Free speech, Doug. No one will arrest you. No one will notice. No one cares.
3) You can not say the pledge. Free speech, Doug. No one will arrest you. No one will notice. No one cares.
4) You can mumble "..."One Nation, (Under Doug), with liberty and justice for all."
Show 'em a bit of that atheist wit.
Don't call the police because other people say things you don't like.
The government has no business forcing citizens to this choice on religious grounds,There's no force, Doug. Force is when you call the police to stop others from saying things.
and it certainly has no business assembling citizens' children in public schools and prescribing their recitation of the pledge--affirmation of a god and all--as a daily routine.People's children are legally required to attend school, and they are "prescribed" many things. It's called "curriculum".
Saying "under God" in the pledge is one of the few things in their little day that's not curriculum and not required. They have the opportunity to do so, if they wish.
They have to take the math quiz. They have to write the English essay. They have to learn the leftie stuff in the curriculum that lefties like you force them to learn. They don't have to say "Under God".
See the difference, Doug?
But that's just me talking. The courts, on the other hand, have sometimes found ways to excuse such things, for instance with the explanation that they are more about acknowledging tradition than promoting religion per se.Bull. When most Americans say "God bless America" or "one nation, under God" they mean it. They want God to bless America and they believe we are a nation under God. It is peculiar to your atheist ideology to believe that other people don't hold their own views with the conviction with which you hold yours.
The Constitution was meant to protect this diversity of belief. The whole point of the Establishment clause and the Free Exercise clause was to get the federal government out of the 'religious referee' business. We were to have no national church, which would interfere with local religious practices, and we were to have no constraints on religious expression. Free expression, Doug. So your bizarre "separation" jurisprudence shoves the federal courts right into the middle of the religious referee business, which is precisely what the Framers wanted to avoid.
But of course the federal courts can't be religious referees in any practical sense. That's why the Framers went to such pains to prohibit the federal government from sifting permitted and forbidden religious expression. How can a few judges micromanage religious speech in our huge American cauldron of beliefs?
So one of the problems with your b.s. unconstitutional "
So courts are forced to make stuff up to make it look like they're being rational. 'The Court finds that the Ten Commandments are unconstitutional if they're written in purple ink, but if they're in blue ink, they're constitutional'.
But there's no need to go through the referee charade. "Under God" is religion, and it is perfectly Constitutional. All religious expression is Constitutional anywhere by anyone unless it is an Establishment. Voluntary talk about God isn't an Establishment.
A voluntary prayer isn't an Establishment. A voluntary motto isn't an Establishment. "Voluntary" is the anthesis of "Establishment". There has never been an Establishment of religion at the federal level, Doug. Not even close. You're paranoid, Doug.
Draining the government's nominally religious statements or actions of religious meaning (or at least purporting to do so) and discounting them as non-religious ritual--sometimes dubbed "ceremonial deism"--is one way to find them not to conflict with the First Amendment.Invoking God is not deism. Deism is the belief that God is un-invokable. Deism is the belief that God does not act. Invoking God presupposes that He does act. Asking God to bless America or saying that our nation is under God is asserting that God acts and cares. It is the antithesis of deism. It ain't "ceremonial deism". What a dumb thing to say, Doug.
Invoking God is the free exercise of religion. It's Constitutional.
Ordinary folks, though, commonly see things differently; when they read "[i]n God we trust," they think the Government is actually declaring that "we" as a people actually "trust" the actual "God" they believe in.Most ordinary folks do trust in God. They are sovereign in America. We're a democracy. We made such references part of our public life.
If they understood it as merely a ritualistic phrase devoid of religious meaning, they would hardly get as exercised as they do about proposals to drop it.Yep. They understand what you're up to Doug, and it pisses them off. Pisses me off, too.
As you can imagine, those more interested in championing their religion than the constitutional principle of separation of church and state sometimes seek to exploit and expand such "exceptions" even if it requires they fake interest only in tradition.
If you don't like "Under God", make the case through the legislative process. Ya know, the process that the people who believe in democracy use. If you win, great for you.
If you lose, you can still mumble "one nation, under Doug...".