greg (grysar) wrote,

Church and State

Two big rulings have come down on the separation of church and state recently, and I thought I'd offer commentary, with the probably vain hope of getting some discussion.

First, the "under God" part of the pledge was ruled unconstitutional by a federal district court.
For some reason, those idiotic judges thought that an act of Congress adding the words "under God" to the pledge in an attempt to separate us from the godless commies was establishing religion, go figure. I mean, its obviously ceremonial deism, quite meaningless, which is why some many politicians immediately went out speaking about how our freedom stem from God and how important religion was to America.

Despite my sarcasm, those who know me, may well know of my love for the Battle Hymn of the Republic, which particularly in later verses is patently Christian. The difference is that teachers have to recite the pledge, and while it is voluntary (much to the chagrin of some) it is still a coercive. Go read the text of the pledge's defenders, and tell me if some don't imply that one must be a good believer, maybe even a good Christian to be a good American, which is BS.

Songs are voluntary, they aren't written by Congress, and they aren't recited every single day. Moreover, the national motto 'In God we trust" is ceremonial deism, mark of the beast not withstanding what's written on one's money is largely unrelated to what one strongly believes.

If "under God" wasn't added to establish religion or if even today it actually was meaningless then it wouldn't really be a problem. But ask the true believers in the phrase, the ones shouting it in protest, whether its just a meaningless bit of ceremony, the answer will be a resounding 'No!'

Course, nothing will come of the issue, as the Supreme Court is Republican, and the Democrats have more sense then to be caught being 'unpatriotic.'

I'm actually gonna go the other way on vouchers though. I'm frankly uncomfortable with them, and have long opposed them. However, giving parents money to find a school of their choice if public schools are inadequate is a fairly utilitarian, sensible idea. I am bothered the funding of religious schools, but giving an education to poor children is more important.

I think an experiment is worthwhile. However, the fate of public schools is damned important; States must not be allowed to get out of the business of education in high risk areas. Every child must have a real choice of an adequate public school education, anything else is unacceptable and a threat to one of the key institutions of our democracy. Hopefully, we can have a real debate on vouchers and my party will have to find a way to guarantee a sufficient public school choice to all young Americans, a guarantee which has not been in effect as of late even without vouchers.

Though, the idea that parents will have total choice is a joke. There are groups in America that are protected by the first amendment but are hateful to the core, people won't stand for a Klan elementary school supported by public dollars. Private choice is not in fact a cure all because its purest form is politically untenable. We need to have a real, honest, thoughtful debate on this as a nation, maybe, just maybe, the Supreme Court ruling will get it started.
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