The God of the Ninth Circuit

By David Waters We at Under God would be remiss if we did not thank the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court … Continued

By David Waters

We at Under God would be remiss if we did not thank the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals for upholding the name of our blog in the Pledge of Allegiance, but we must question the court’s logic in dismissing the “religious significance” of a two-word phrase that includes the word God.

“True the words ‘Under God’ have religious significance,” but that doesn’t automatically turn them into “a prayer of other religious exercise,” the court ruled 2-1 last week in a California case.

Perhaps the word God has some sort of non-religious significance in the state of California. That might explain Hollywood. What else can explain this ruling?

“The phrase ‘Under God,” the court went on to rule, “is a recognition of our founders’ political philosophy that a power greater than the government gives the people their inalienable rights.”

A power greater than government, which might or might not be the Judeo-Christian God upon which this country might or might not have been founded, apparently depending on the court, the year and the case.

Remember, this was the same Ninth Circuit that touched off a major election-year, culture-war battle in 2004 by declaring the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance to be an unconstitutional endorsement of religion. Congress formally condemned the ruling and President Bush called it “ridiculous.”

Once burned at the stake, twice shy. Upon further review (this new case was an updated version of the old case, refiled by plaintiff and now famous atheist Michael Newdow), the Ninth Circuit now sees that it was making too much of the word God.

“Not every mention of God or religion by our government or at the government’s direction is a violation of the Establishment Clause,” the court ruled. In studying the history and context of the 1954 insertion of the words ‘under God’ into the 1892 Pledge (written by a Baptist minister), “we find the pledge is one of allegiance to our Republic, not of allegiance to God or to any religion.”

True, the 1954 revision of the Pledge was in large part America’s symbolic and defiant response to the rise of godless communism, but at the time no one was dismissing the new phrase’s religious significance. In fact, it’s religious significance was the point.

“From this day forward,” President Eisenhower said when signed the legislation, “the millions of our schoolchildren will daily proclaim, in every city and town, every village and rural school house, the dedication of our nation and our people to the Almighty.’

The Almighty, a.k.a. God, now a.k.a. (in California) A Power Greater Than Government.

So why would a court that ruled ‘under God’ to be an endorsement of religion reverse itself and call it nothing more than an endorsement of government?

In his sharply worded dissent, Judge Stephen Reinhardt advanced a theory: “Only a desire to change the rules regarding separation of church and state or an unwillingness to place this court on the unpopular side of a highly controversial dispute regarding both patriotism and religion could explain the decision the members of the majority reach here and the lengths to which their muddled and self-contradictory decision goes in order to reach the result they do.”

A power greater than government, save the United States and this honorable court.

In a separate but equal ruling, the same court upheld the use of the national motto, “In God We Trust,” on coins and currency. The use of the word God is patriotic and ceremonial, not religious, the court ruled 3-0. Reinhardt joined this decision, saying he was bound by the court’s newly established precedent in the ‘under God’ case.

This sort of legalistic parsing won’t doom the Republic, but should people of faith be concerned about any branch of government’s decision to downgrade God from religious to patriotic?

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  • Freestinker

    Atheists rejoice! The Court has declared that gods are no longer religious … wait a minute. Every religion requires god(s) so if gods themselves are no longer religious in nature, then how can anything be religious? By declaring that gods are not religious, the Court has effectively abolished every religion. These morons can’t be serious … but somehow they are?Good grief.

  • MarkinTX

    I have no issue with Under God being in the pledge. What I do have issue with is the ones saying this is a simply a christian nation and I suspect would have the please say, One Nation, Under God, Indivisble, with liberty and justice if your a christian.

  • YEAL9

    Thirty-two countries have or had god in their mottos. For example:Brunei: الدائمون المحسنون بالهدى (Arabic, Always in service with God’s guidance)Confederate States of America: Deo Vindice (Latin, Under God, Our Vindicator)Denmark: Motto of Queen Margrethe II:Ecuador: Dios, patria y libertad (Spanish, God, homeland and liberty)[Dominican Republic: Dios, Patria, Libertad (Spanish, God, Country, LibertyMorocco: الله، الوطن، الملك (Arabic, God, the Country, the KingPhilippines: Maka-Diyos, Maka-Tao, Makakalikasan at Makabansa (Tagalog, For God, People, Nature and CountryPoland: No official motto. Among the unofficial ones Bóg, Honor, Ojczyzna (Polish, God, Honor, Fatherland)Russian Empire – С нами Бог (God is with us)

  • bdunn1

    One of the judges took enough exception to the decision that he wrote a dissent of 136 pages. It’s a ridiculous phrase. Whose god? And we trust it? Trust it to do what?

  • lepidopteryx

    When I say the pledge, I change it up.

  • Freestinker

    If God is everywhere, then the pledge should read “One Nation, under, above, next to, and inside God …”.Exactly what does “Under God” mean anyway? It’s so ambiquous, it’s almost a non-sequitor.

  • MarkinTX

    Quack Science, good one. Because Religion can never be wrong, right?You complain about athiest bringing suits. Okay lets cross them off the list. Who will be next then? Those who have a faith that believe in a different God? Just whittle away till only Christians are left? Ahh yes, but then even that gets to splitting hairs. Your arguement is a slippery slope to utter chaos.

  • spidermean2

    Self replication is a proof that there is God. It means that atheists are idiots and to listen to idiots concerning religion is stupidity.The courts should not allow any suit coming from atheists if it involves about religion or God. Stupidity don’t have any right.

  • spidermean2

    The First Amendment prohibits preference of non-religion over religion. When either way is unconstitutional, I think the will of the majority should prevail.

  • MarkinTX

    “The courts should not allow any suit coming from atheists if it involves about religion or God. Stupidity don’t have any right.”Really? Then the courts should not allow any suit from any Religion if it is about science. You need to freshen up on your history. The first to come to this country were escaping religous persecution.

  • acebojangles

    Removing “under god” from the pledge wouldn’t be preference for nonreligion. Maybe adding something like “under no gods” would be, but saying nothing on the subject gives preference to neither side.

  • coloradodog

    The real problem is the agenda of a few to force the rest of us to be subservient to their definition of what “God” is.

  • spidermean2

    MarkinTX wrote “Really? Then the courts should not allow any suit from any Religion if it is about science.”That is if it’s science. But evolution is quack science. The science of Self-Replication will push that quack science towards the garbage bin soon.

  • spidermean2

    Is it called science when a single-celled organism evolves into a human brain after a very long period of time? That is quack science. It’s way off the logic chart if there’s one.

  • spidermean2

    If we all live in Mars, then we can doubt that there may be no God. But clearly with all the intelligence around us (it needs intelligence to sustain life in plants and animals) one cannot deny that there is a God. When an idiot wants his views to be heard like proclaiming that there is no God, I don’t believe there is any reason why we should listen that that fool.The courts should not hear any suits coming from atheists about the First Ammendment. It’s all about stupidity and who wants to hear a stupid petition?

  • coloradodog

    “The courts should not hear any suits coming from atheists about the First Ammendment”No First Amendment rights for atheists in Huckabee Jesuslandia?

  • spidermean2

    MarkinTX wrote “You complain about athiest bringing suits. Okay lets cross them off the list. Who will be next then?”As far as I can remember, only atheists make idiotic suits. All religions are sane enough not to hate the word “God”.

  • kmhernandez926

    Great job Texas, in the 60’s is when the education system in Texas changed their textbooks for the whole country because one woman was offended, she was an atheist. Then the history of this country was distorted and as it is written, people would rather believe a lie, I guess the truth hurts some. But, I thought at least some of you were smart. I suggest you obtain copies of the original colonies Codes of Law. I recieved my certified copies from the Supreme Court Library in Raleigh, NC. Now, lets look at this a little closer. In 1776, we became the United States of America consisting of these 13 states with all our rights and freedoms, did you fight for that freedom? NO, and neither did I, so who fought, those thirteen colonies that became the 13 states that started America in 1776. Their history is our history, so can we really disregard their truth because it offends someone. Please read their Laws, these people believed that GOD was with them all the way and they would not have won without HIS help, that FREEDOM for all is a gift from GOD. Thomas Jefferson also referenced GOD in the Declaration of Independence. We don’t seem to give enough thanks for our FREEDOM which is a gift from GOD and can be taken away. All truth should be taught in full to everyone and everyone has their own FREEDOM to choose whatever they like but withholding the truth is deceptive and the same as a lie and brings about IGNORANCE in the people that was decieved. We are the LAND OF THE FREE, so let’s act like it. Our gratitude goes to those people who fought and created this great LAND OF THE FREE and our THANKS goes to GOD. You have the freedom to believe whatever you like but we should not cover up the truth in how it began.

  • MarkinTX

    Because it was SO important to have the words under God in the Pledge that it took over 60 years from the time of its creation till those two words were added.”All religions are sane enough not to hate the word “God””? Because Wiccans and countless others all see the same view? What a sheltered world you live in. KMHernandez… take off the blinders and take a world history lesson.