17 September 2005

"Under God"

Cross-posted at Strange Musings. While this post is not science related, I did promise you some controversy, so here we go!

As sammka mentioned in a recent post, I feel it is important to engage in civil discourse on controvertial topics. The following letter is going in the mail to my Senators by Monday.

The Honorable ***

September 16, 2005

Senator ***:

I am writing to you today as a *** State resident regarding the U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton ruling in California on the unconstitutionality of the Pledge of Allegiance (9/14/05), and the subsequent unanimous Senate non-binding resolution condemning this ruling late Thursday September 15, 2005. I am disappointed by your decision to oppose the ruling, and would like to express why.

As quoted by CNN, the non-biding resolution said that “ ‘one nation under God’ in the pledge reflects the religious faith central to the founding of the nation and that its recitation is ‘a fully constitutional expression of patriotism.’ ” I agree that the Founding Fathers held Christian beliefs of a Creator, as is shown by the Declaration of Independence’s statement “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal,” but disagree about their relevance today. The word of the Founding Fathers is law, but laws should sometimes be changed. Non-white men, and women of all races have been given equal rights and protection under the law that the framers of the Constitution would never have dreamed of. Moreover, the phrase “under God” was added to the Pledge by Congress during the 1950’s, and therefore in no way reflects the original intents of our forefathers. Using their intentions is not a valid argument.

What is valid is the effect that these words have today. As you are a Senator of a state with a diverse population, I am surprised that you did not take our beliefs into consideration. The word “God” refers primarily to the Christian Creator – Judaism uses another word, Islam uses “Allah.” A number of citizens in this state believe in other forms of a Creator, such as a female form (Gaia) or a polytheistic form (for example, as in Hinduism and Paganism). And even others such as myself believe in a purely secular form of Creator, such as the Big Bang and Evolution. As of 2001, 21% of the state population self-identified as non-Christian – while this is a minority, we are still a significant percentage of the state. The choice of the word “God” is not inclusive of our beliefs of a Creator, just as if the Pledge contained “under Allah” or “under Evolution” that would not be inclusive of Christianity.

In conclusion, I feel that in expressing disagreement with the ruling by Judge Karlton you failed to consider that there are precedents of newer laws superceding the intentions of the Founding Fathers, and that the phrase “under God” is not inclusive of a significant number of your constituents. I hope that in the future you will consider points of view that differ from yours and represent the other constituents within the state that has elected you.

Thank you for your time. Please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions.



Feel free to modify (or not) this letter and send to your Senator.

See Also:
* Pledge ruling
* Senators' condemnation and appeal
* Senators by Zip Code

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