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July 07, 2002

Ok, so here's Article 1

Ok, so here's Article 1 of the Bill of Rights

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

The general interpretation of the religion part above is that Government can't choose say, Methodism as the official religion of the US. Fine, that makes sense. Here's what the judge who ruled the pledge of allegiance unconstitutional had to say.

"A profession that we are a nation 'under God' is identical, for Establishment Clause purposes, to a profession that we are a nation 'under Jesus,' a nation 'under Vishnu,' a nation 'under Zeus,' or a nation 'under no god,' because none of these professions can be neutral with respect to religion," Judge Alfred T. Goodwin wrote for the three-judge panel."

Since when is atheism a religion? It would seem by definition that Atheism is not a religion, and therefore has no standing in the "no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" sweepstakes. Since the Pledge doesn't actually say "under Jesus" or "under Vishnu", it would seem to pass the first amendment test. But what Judge Goodwin actually did in order to invalidate the Pledge was to essentially declare that atheism is a religion. Sure, Atheism is a belief system, but so is Science, and I'm pretty sure we're not going to be calling Science a religion anytime soon. Though I bet Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson would be tickled pink if it was, since then teaching the theory of evolution in a public school would violate the First Amendment.

Posted by Bigwig at July 7, 2002 11:04 PM | TrackBack
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