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The Liberal Pledge of Anarchy
by Trevor BothwellMichael Newdow, defending your rights and mine
04 April 2004

Who would have thought thirty years ago that it would be "unacceptable" to celebrate holidays such as Christmas and Easter.

I truly thought with the emergence of the PT Cruiser and the arrival of fat free sour cream that we’d finally reached the core of what could universally be regarded as poor decision-making. Of course, that was before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled almost two years ago that it is unconstitutional to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in California public schools.

The school district’s appeal, which is now being considered by the Supreme Court, highlights the liberal assault that has been waged against our culture throughout the past three decades. If the 9th Circuit’s ruling is upheld, the Pledge would be banned in schools in the 9th Circuit, and potentially in all public schools nationwide.

The left has taken aim at our public schools since the 1970s -- from radical feminists who have contorted Title IX into a law that discriminates against boys; to whole language fanatics who don't believe children should learn to read through phonetic instruction; to liberal sociologists and educators who put more faith in the importance of “self-esteem” than the ability of students to compute or think critically. And we now confront Michael Newdow, an atheist who finds nothing wrong with trying to commandeer one of the most intimate traditions of the United States to serve his own selfish interests.

Since this case is now before the Supreme Court, it is worthwhile to reflect back to the specifics surrounding Mr. Newdow’s original motivations for his lawsuit.

Newdow claimed that the term "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance offended him because he’s an atheist. But as is common with most members of the vocal minority, he didn't particularly seem to care how many other Americans he offended by bringing his lawsuit so long as he got his way.

One of the most beautiful features of this country is our fundamental right to question authority. But when confronted by CNN's Arthel Neville back in 2002 about whether his daughter was ostracized at school for refusing to say the Pledge, Mr. Newdow admitted that nothing of the sort had taken place. He simply admitted his daughter is part of his lawsuit "because you need that for standing."

If it isn't pathetic enough that Michael Newdow took a grievance to a federal court in the absence of any overt prejudice, using his daughter as a tool in his little campaign against religion and the Pledge ought to be. And when asked how long he’d been contemplating this lawsuit, Newdow stated blithely, upon determining that the verbiage in the Constitution supported his case, that "(suing is) a cool thing to do. Everyone should try it."

Indeed, Mr. Newdow. We’re aching for people like you to disgrace the integrity of our judicial process in order to honor their own gratuitous whims.

Newdow’s own biases aside, the disaster of the 9th Circuit’s ruling wasn’t so much rooted in the decision itself, but in the reality that it is an activist court intent on establishing a secular precedent, one that will no doubt be used to continually support assaults against America’s traditions and values -- whether in support of Big Tobacco-style lawsuits, gay marriage, or the removal altogether of spirituality from public life.

To be sure, the term "under God" may represent the presence of a deity in the hearts and minds of Americans, but it hardly represents a government endorsement of religion, a sentiment Justice David Souter expressed last week during arguments. Actually, whether agnostics agree or disagree with certain spiritual phrases in our national songs, mottos, or slogans is not the relevant issue here. The fact remains that our nation was founded on inalienable Judeo-Christian principals, understood by our Founders to provide the very rights that Michael Newdow is now -- ironically -- exploiting in order to challenge those very principles.

Who would have thought thirty years ago that today it would be "unacceptable" to celebrate holidays such as Christmas and Easter or traditions like Halloween, Mother's Day, Father's Day, or Valentine's Day in many of our public schools, for fear that someone might feel “uncomfortable?” Or that no-smoking policies on airplanes would have led to legislation prohibiting smoking in public places or -- of all things -- in private establishments? Or that it would be feasible to sue your neighbor because a waft of cigarette smoke coming from his porch found its way across your fence to your nose?

Answer: liberals.

Conservatives generally don’t buy into the concept of the slippery slope, but ignoring its existence is fast becoming a luxury we can afford less every day. After all, liberals know that to reveal their entire agenda at once would mean almost certain defeat. So instead we get what we see with today’s fight for the Pledge: isolated attempts to systematically erode our liberties and moral standards, all in search of the ultimate goal of total secularism.

Our public schools have plenty to improve upon as far as instructional and disciplinary policies are concerned, but one fight they would do well to continue -- regardless of the Supreme Court’s ruling this summer -- is their right to lead our children in those verses before the school day that are all too frequently taken for granted, and have unfortunately become one of our last lines of defense of patriotism and freedom as we know it.

Say the Pledge of Allegiance. It's a cool thing to do. Everyone should try it.

Trevor Bothwell is the editor of The Right Report

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