basically, making kids say "under god" is forcing them to either pledge their allegiance to the christian god or to embarrass themselves (and possibly risk harrassment if not violence) by refusing to do so in front of the class. the judge had little choice but to affirm this obvious fact once again. there is no real debating this basic fact; the only real debate i've seen on this point is the "who cares? we're a mostly christian nation" argument, which makes no legal sense.
the supreme court already had the chance to settle this once and for all last year, but rather than doing so, to put it crassly and bluntly, they took the pussy way out and tossed out the case because the plaintiff did not have custody over his kid. way to duck the issue and waste years of time, supreme court. so newdow, the plaintiff, simply refiled his case with a couple more (anonymous) plaintiffs, ensuring that the supremes' pussiness could not be repeated.
the article is full of quotes from wingnuts who decry "judicial activism" when what they are actually decrying is judges who are not christian activists. but i was tickled by this quote:
"When the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals delivered the craziest ruling in American history by striking down the Pledge of Allegiance three years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court stepped in and stopped the insanity," said Randy Thomasson, president of Campaign for Children and Families, a religious liberties group. "The lower courts striking down the pledge again is like a dog returning to its vomit."
the craziest ruling in american history? crazier than dred scott? crazier than all the rulings that reaffirmed slavery, jim crow, separate but equal, etc? you could spend all day thinking up crazier rulings. exponentially crazier rulings.
never mind that it's fundamentally stupid to make kids recite the pledge even if you take out all the christian crap. by the time the average kid is educated enough to even understand what they're saying, they've been reciting it by rote for so long that it has lost all meaning to them. the power of ritual is strong. ritual is one of the foundations of religion for a reason: it can create a sort of trance state that increases suggestibility, for example. but most little kids don't know what words like "allegiance" or "indivisible" mean. hell, most of the kids reciting the pledge don't even know what a "republic" is.
and schwarzenegger, he who claims to be friendly to gays and minorities until it comes time to actually do something about it (like, say, not vetoing groundbreaking civil rights legislation), either doesn't understand what he's talking about or doesn't think anyone else will understand it:
"As an immigrant to America, one of the proudest days of my life was when I became a citizen of the United States," the governor said in a statement to the media. "Reciting the Pledge of Allegiance always reminds me of the history of our nation's founding, the principles of our great democracy and the many sacrifices Americans have made to protect our country."
this doesn't have a damn thing to do with the issue at hand. it's just meaningless polito-drivel. about what you'd expect from a movie-star turned politician. the case isn't about "reciting the pledge" itself: it's about forcing kids, many of which are not christians, to affirm the existance of and pledge obeisance to the christian god.¶