This is a free country, so if you disagree with me, get the fuck out

Ordinarily this kind of reasoning would seem to guarantee a certain amount of cognitive dissonance. However, when cognition consists of a series of unsophisticated reflex arcs rather than anything that engages the cerebrum, there can be no associated conflict.

An article in yesterday’s Concord Monitor described a New Hampshire family’s unsuccessful lawsuit against the government:

A federal appeals court has found that a New Hampshire law requiring schools to schedule voluntary recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance does not unconstitutionally force religion upon students.

The ruling came in a lawsuit brought by a Hanover couple who claimed the rights of their three young children were violated when elementary school and middle school teachers led their classes in daily recitation of the pledge because it describes the United States as a nation “under God.” The parents, identified only as Jan and Pat Doe, said their children, like them, were atheist or agnostic.

[ …]

The law requires schools to establish a time during the school day for students to voluntarily recite the Pledge of Allegiance. It does not require students to stand during the pledge or give any reason for not joining the recitation, but it does ask them to be silent and respectful.


The panel of judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit on Friday rejected the claim that exposing children to group recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance violated their constitutional rights. The judges, a Clinton nominee, a George W. Bush nominee and an Obama nominee, agreed the pledge references religion, but they said its purpose is to encourage patriotism. The ruling affirms a 2009 ruling by U.S. District Judge Steven McAuliffe at the federal court in Concord.

The article goes on to quote idiot extraordinaire Jay Sekulow, who recites the obligatory canard about the United States being founded on Judeo-Christian principles (whatever those are–I have never seen evidence of this presumed ecumenism between Jews and Christians).

Seems straightforward enough. I do think that it’s inherently coercive to have kids asked to recite the Pledge while giving them the option of sitting it out, as this invites the potential for tension between very young people that doesn’t need to exist in a classroom (“What do you mean, ‘there’s no God?'”). But at the same time kids will fight over Red Sox vs. Yankees, Darth Vader vs. Obi-Wan Kenobi and any number of other things, so that’s a wash. At least now kids have the option to not take part in these kinds of rituals even if that places them at risk of self-ostracization, because when I was a kid, if you didn’t stand for the Pledge you would have wound up in Dutch.

Also of interest–over three times as many New Hampshire residents (29% vs. 9%) say they have “no religion” today compared to just 20 years ago.

Anyway, a comment by someone calling himself (naturally) “Ranger” bemoans the sad and godless state of our his fair nation:

If you take “Under God” out you have spit on the history and values that have made this country so great. The pledge is a means to remember and honor the principles this country was built on. Don’t like it, find another country that better represents what you believe in. “Under God” represents more than just religion, it represents principal, morality and freedom. Once again, if you don’t like it -If you can’t honor the history and values of our country -LEAVE!

As I responded “on-site,” although I liked most of my principals, I wouldn’t say that any of them were godlike. And since these self-styled patriots are always keen on the intentions of America’s founders, I like pointing out that not only does the word “God” not appear in either the U.S. Constitution or the Declaration of Independence, but that “the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,” at least according to that John Adams fellow.

Since these morons claim that being unable to honor U.S. history implies a lack of fitness for citizenship, they should therefore, in accordance with their own throaty decree, get the hell out of the country. Unfortunately, it’s not reasonable to expect that people who could not find the junction between the terminus of their own GI tracts and the external world if given a high-powered illuminating device to be able to navigate all the way to any United States border crossing under their own steam.

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