“Under God” Under Siege Again

Earlier in the month, Texas inserted the words “Under God” in the state’s Pledge of Allegiance. The Pledge is mandatory for schoolchildren to say, and if they want to get out of it, they need a note from home.

This was around the same time that Texas was forcing children to have a moment of silence in the classroom.

It all just reinforces the moronic, backwards-thinking stereotype of Texas.

At least one couple is doing something about it.

David Wallace Croft and his wife, Shannon, fought against both pieces of legislation. They have children who attend schools affected by these policies.

The latest lawsuit was against the Pledge. But now, that lawsuit has been denied.

U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade denied the request late Tuesday by David Wallace Croft and his wife, Shannon, for a preliminary injunction to stop the use of the pledge before any trial. No trial date has been set.

The Crofts announced earlier this month they were suing Gov. Rick Perry, as a representative of the state, over the pledge on the same day arguments were held over their separate lawsuit against the state’s minute of silence law.

In each case, the Crofts argue that actions by legislators are unconstitutional and amount to violations of separation of church and state. They argued legislators sought to reintroduce prayer in schools by mandating the moment of silence in 2003. The law gives children the option to “reflect, pray, meditate or engage in any other silent activity” during that minute.

The Moment of Silence case hasn’t been decided yet.

I don’t have a huge problem with the silence. But the Crofts are absolutely right with their Pledge case. That is blatant religion being forced upon everyone.

You can read David Wallace Croft’s blog here.

On a side note, I’m glad the atheist couple is fighting this battle, but why are there no religious people beating them to the punch? There are many who respect separation of church and state and who are as offended by the ruling as atheists. Why do we rarely see them taking the lead on these issues?


[tags]atheist, atheism, Michael Newdow, Under God, Shannon Croft[/tags]

  • http://www.saintgasoline.com Saint Gasoline

    Yeah, the moment of silence isn’t really a violation of the separation of church and state, because the government representatives are not leading a prayer or priveleging any particular religion. Instead, each student is given time to do as he pleases–he can pray if he is a theist, meditate if he is Buddhist, or maybe think about philosophy or women if he’s an atheist.

  • Richard Wade

    What if they had the pledge at exactly the same time as the moment of silence? That might solve most of the problems. :)

  • http://www.drzach.net Zachary Moore

    I live in the same school district, actually. I’ll see if I can meet up with the guy.

  • Polly

    I don’t really have a problem with a minute of silence. I did suspect that it’s an underhanded attempt at school prayer. Now, attempting to insert “under god” into the state pledge just confirms my suspicions.

    Are they afraid god won’t bless the state if they don’t give the almighty a shout out in homeroom, or something? What’s the point of these inane laws? Don’t TX state congessmen have any bigger, read that “actual”, problems to solve?
    I always hate this kind of “feel good” legislation. It’s just smoke and mirrors to dupe the public into thinking the politicians care about their so-called values. But this doesn’t even feel good except to the theocrats who want to drag us, kicking and screaming, back to the 15th century.

  • http://badidea.wordpress.com/ Bad

    I’m gonna have to do a post on the moment of silence thing, because honestly, I can’t think of a more boneheaded idea. Every single minute spent in silence could be spent on… LESS SCHOOL. If such minutes are essential for the stated reason that religious folk need that time to pray, then by all means, give them that extra minute of their day by starting school a minute later. That way they can pray even MORE freely, in any way they want: out loud, in whatever freely assembling groups they please.

    And yet, somehow, that doesn’t seem to be good enough… because the point was never about those who want to pray in the first place, but rather about forcing the mandatory participation and attendance on those who don’t.

  • Maria

    I don’t have a huge problem with the silence. But the Crofts are absolutely right with their Pledge case. That is blatant religion being forced upon everyone.

    I agree.

    On a side note, I’m glad the atheist couple is fighting this battle, but why are there no religious people beating them to the punch? There are many who respect separation of church and state and who are as offended by the ruling as atheists. Why do we rarely see them taking the lead on these issues?

    I wish I could answer that. My best guess is there aren’t that many of them in Texas. I think if this happened in a more liberal state they’d come out. Then again, if it were a more liberal state, I don’t think the problem would exist in the first place…….

  • http://mollishka.blogspot.com mollishka

    There are many who respect separation of church and state and who are as offended by the ruling as atheists. Why do we rarely see them taking the lead on these issues?

    Because they aren’t actually as offended…?

  • stogoe

    Oh, mollishka, that can’t be. They have to be exactly equally as offended as atheists because they’re moderates and we shouldn’t criticize their wacky beliefs.

    Nisbet, Mooney, Brayton, Mehta, and the guy from Red State Rabble have all said so, numerous times. They must be right, because they say they are.

    …okay, so [/strawman], but it seems clear to me that there are times when the moderately religious don’t share our goals, and we shouldn’t hold back at those times simply because mocking them will make them feel like they’re being mocked.

  • monkeymind

    Stogoe, mollishka:

    Why do you just assume that “religious moderates” don’t side with atheists on this issue? Is it because you have a concept of a spectrum of religious beliefs, with the less extreme believers sheltering those on the extremist end of the spectrum?

    But is this really an accurate a picture of the varieties of religious experience in the US?

    This might be a good time to point out that Jehovah’s Witnesses oppose “under God”, as do Mennonites, Quakers, and evangelicals of the “Sojourners” stripe. Rev. Barry Lynn, president of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, filed an amicus brief in the Newdow case.

    As far as taking the lead, Mennonite Edward Myers a sued his sons’ Virginia school district in federal court over the pledge:

    Devoted to God, Not the Pledge


    To me, it’s heresy,” [Meyers] said. “Government is about keeping civil order. Church is about loving and worshiping God. You don’t mix . . . loving God because of free choice with something that’s about duty and where you were born.”
    .

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