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Thread: Atheist Pleads With Justices

  1. #1
    MagicNakor's Avatar On the Peripheral
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    So determined is atheist Michael Newdow to not have his 9-year-old daughter hear the Pledge of Allegiance recited in her classroom that he went to the Supreme Court on Wednesday to argue his case in person.

    Newdow was in the rare position of being both a party to a landmark constitutional case and the attorney arguing the case before the court.

    Every time his daughter’s class recites the Pledge of Allegiance with the phrase “under God” in it, Newdow told the justices, she is being forced "to say her father is wrong.”

    'Slapped in the face'
    Even though Newdow is not the girl’s custodial parent and even though the girl’s mother wants her to recite the pledge, Newdow insisted that his rights and his conscience were being violated.

    Knowing that she recites the pledge “is like I’m getting slapped in the face,” Newdow told the justices. “I want my beliefs to given the same weight as everybody else’s.”

    What’s wrong with the pledge, in Newdow’s view? “The government is saying there is a God,” he told the court.

    Two years ago, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled in favor of Newdow, who had contended that the Elk Grove, Calif., school district violated the First Amendment’s command that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” by requiring teachers to lead students in the pledge.

    But Newdow received a skeptical reception from eight justices Wednesday. (Justice Antonin Scalia recused himself from the case because he had given a speech expressing his view that "under God" could be removed from the pledge only by Congress.)

    Does Newdow have standing?
    Based on questioning from the justices, it appears that Newdow’s primary problem will be to convince them that he has legal standing in the case.

    A California court has given Sandra Banning, the mother of Newdow’s daughter, final decision-making authority over the girl’s education.

    It is highly unusual for the Supreme Court to involve itself in ordinary custody disputes between two alienated parents, but for much of Wednesday’s oral argument, it seemed as if the justices and the audience were in a family court, not in the august precincts of the highest court in the land.

    Justice Anthony Kennedy suggested in questioning Newdow that his attempt to be given standing in the case “violates the common core of the court’s standing rule.”

    Justice David Souter wondered whether allowing Newdow to make himself a plaintiff in the case would undercut “next friend” precedents, which guide courts in deciding who can properly speak for minors or for anyone who can’t speak for himself.

    Justice Sandra Day O’Connor pointed out to Newdow that his daughter “does have a right not to participate” in her class’s recitation of the pledge.

    Newdow responded that the court had ruled in 1992 that a rabbi could not recite a benediction including references to God at a public school graduation ceremony because the setting created coercion for students to join the prayer or listen to it.

    Referring to that 1992 case, O’Connor replied to Newdow, “That was a prayer,” pointedly implying that the pledge, even including “under God” is not a prayer.

    Is the pledge a prayer?
    Chief Justice William Rehnquist joined in, telling Newdow the pledge “doesn’t sound anything like a prayer.” Rehnquist quoted the phrase “with liberty and justice for all” from the pledge and told Newdow, “You can disagree with ‘under God,’ you can disagree with ‘with liberty and justice for all,’ but that doesn’t mean it’s a prayer.”

    A few moments later Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg returned to the coercion question, agreeing with O’Connor and telling Newdow, “the child does not have to say it at all,” because the school district’s policy allows students to remain silent if they choose.

    But Newdow insisted that the classroom setting would “impose on a small child,” forcing her to go along in what he saw as a religious expression.

    Kennedy impatiently told Newdow, “you’re arguing based on the child’s interest,” instead of arguing why he — Newdow — was having his rights violated.

    By trying in effect to represent the child and not himself, Kennedy said, Newdow had created “a serious standing problem.”

    Even though Newdow’s argument did not seem to receive much support from the justices, Newdow did get a boost from the audience in the courtroom. Newdow had argued that the words “under God” were divisive and damaging to national unity, by pitting atheist against believers.

    “What was the vote in Congress” when it decided in 1954 to add the words “under God” to the pledge, asked Rehnquist.

    Newdow replied that it was “apparently unanimous,” prompting Rehnquist to question how divisive the pledge really was.

    “That’s because no atheists can get elected to Congress,” Newdow insisted, prompting a sudden round of applause in the audience — in flagrant violation of the court’s rules. “The courtroom will be cleared if there’s any more clapping,” Rehnquist declared.

    After the oral argument ended, both Banning and Newdow walked out to an array of television cameras and reporters in front of the court to give their assessment of how the historic day had gone for each of them.

    Mother hopes for quick ruling
    Expressing a naively optimistic view of how quickly the high court works, Banning told reporters: “As a mother, as a Christian and an American, I’m hoping the court will resolve this issue today and that this will be the last time that as a nation we will have to come to the Supreme Court in order to determine whether our pledge is unconstitutional.”

    Asked for her evaluation of Newdow’s skill in representing himself before the high court, Banning said, “Michael did very well. He was very well-spoken.… He showed as much passion today in the Supreme Court as he does in the family law court.”

    Banning has kept her daughter out of the public eye as the case has wended its way through the courts. Banning told reporters Wednesday, “The first day of third grade she volunteered — she was the first one to raise her hand to lead the class in reciting the pledge.”

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4594537/
    What I'm curious about is how his rights and conscience could possibly be violated. He is not his child.

    things are quiet until hitler decides he'd like to invade russia
    so, he does
    the russians are like "OMG WTF D00DZ, STOP TKING"
    and the germans are still like "omg ph34r n00bz"
    the russians fall back, all the way to moscow
    and then they all begin h4xing, which brings on the russian winter
    the germans are like "wtf, h4x"
    -- WW2 for the l33t

  2. The Drawing Room   -   #2
    Busyman's Avatar Use Logic Or STFU!!!
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    Newdow is an ass. He doesn't even have custody of the child.

    He obviously believes in no God very strongly. He is missing one thing. Children don't have to and are not "compelled" to say the Pledge Of Allegiance.

    He's working backwards. He should argue that "under God" shouldn't even be in the Pledge....but I guess that's been done before.

    The reason an atheist is not elected to Congress is because everyone wants to know where your moral fiber comes from....even if you're lying about it.
    Silly bitch, your weapons cannot harm me. Don't you know who I am? I'm the Juggernaut, Bitchhhh!

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  3. The Drawing Room   -   #3


    This has been tried so many times before, shot down every time. The precedent has already been set from those numerous previous judgments in those cases.

  4. The Drawing Room   -   #4
    The reason an atheist is not elected to Congress is because everyone wants to know where your moral fiber comes from....even if you're lying about it.
    Out of genuine concern for other human beings to create a better society, rather than merely fear of hell? If you stopped believing in God would you go out and kill a bunch of people for fun?

  5. The Drawing Room   -   #5
    Busyman's Avatar Use Logic Or STFU!!!
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    Originally posted by Jems@25 March 2004 - 14:53
    The reason an atheist is not elected to Congress is because everyone wants to know where your moral fiber comes from....even if you're lying about it.
    Out of genuine concern for other human beings to create a better society, rather than merely fear of hell? If you stopped believing in God would you go out and kill a bunch of people for fun?
    I have stated this before and will state it again.

    You may be different but there is a line that many people won't cross because of this fear of going to hell. Call it an added layer against amorality.

    Scary huh?

    Without this fear I can honestly say that I would have killed some folks (not for fun though)...well that fear, jail time and death. It called deterrence

    You are saying that there should be this feeling of "Do it because it is right". Well.....what's right? Where do you get right from?

    Just because it is not harming someone else (that's the most popular among atheists and non-religious types).

    Well....why not harm someone else (to play devil's advocate)?
    Silly bitch, your weapons cannot harm me. Don't you know who I am? I'm the Juggernaut, Bitchhhh!

    Flies Like An Arrow, Flies Like An Apple
    ---12323---4552-----
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  6. The Drawing Room   -   #6
    If you don't kill people because you were afraid of hell...doesn't that nevertheless make you evil? God would see that in your heart you would be evil.

    You are saying that there should be this feeling of "Do it because it is right". Well.....what's right? Where do you get right from?
    An answer which probably isn't very satisfactory is evolution...we are a societal species and need rules and morality to function. If everyone acted without any concern for anyone else the world would collapse and the species die out.
    Being good to others means that they will be good to you, and I always feel good from helping others. Maybe thats selfish in some way, but so is doing good to avoid hell- in the end I suppose that their is always some selfish cause behind everything you do, whether you believe in God or not.

    -and as an agnostic, I reserve the right to play devil's advocate that there is a God

  7. The Drawing Room   -   #7
    vidcc's Avatar there is no god
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    my 5 year old goes to pre school and where we live it was difficult to find one that isn't run specifically by a church group..
    We make this choice because we feel that any religious instruction is the parents responsibility. My wife believes in God and does attend church , however i have doubts that he exists or ever has. If my children ask me i will never tell them that there is no God as i could be wrong.
    my opinion on the pledge is that if parents object to the god part then there should be an allowance to omit it...at least untill the child is of a reasonable age to decide for itself.

    it’s an election with no Democrats, in one of the whitest states in the union, where rich candidates pay $35 for your votes. Or, as Republicans call it, their vision for the future.

  8. The Drawing Room   -   #8
    Busyman's Avatar Use Logic Or STFU!!!
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    Originally posted by Jems@25 March 2004 - 15:18
    If you don't kill people because you were afraid of hell...doesn't that nevertheless make you evil? God would see that in your heart you would be evil.

    You are saying that there should be this feeling of "Do it because it is right". Well.....what's right? Where do you get right from?
    An answer which probably isn't very satisfactory is evolution...we are a societal species and need rules and morality to function. If everyone acted without any concern for anyone else the world would collapse and the species die out.
    Being good to others means that they will be good to you, and I always feel good from helping others. Maybe thats selfish in some way, but so is doing good to avoid hell- in the end I suppose that their is always some selfish cause behind everything you do, whether you believe in God or not.

    -and as an agnostic, I reserve the right to play devil's advocate that there is a God
    No it does not make me evil. You are trying to boiling it down to black and white.

    Take for instance if a loved one was murdered by someone you knew.

    If I didn't have my beliefs to fall on, that person would be killed.
    I would corner them in a dark alley and fire 10 times until they were dead.

    I'm not saying there is this fine line for me, between sanity and insanity.
    I'm saying when your emotions get the best of you, you have your faith in God, or your religion.

    You make it like you have never had an "evil" thought. The difference is whether you act on it.
    Silly bitch, your weapons cannot harm me. Don't you know who I am? I'm the Juggernaut, Bitchhhh!

    Flies Like An Arrow, Flies Like An Apple
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  9. The Drawing Room   -   #9
    Busyman's Avatar Use Logic Or STFU!!!
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    Originally posted by vidcc@25 March 2004 - 15:48
    my 5 year old goes to pre school and where we live it was difficult to find one that isn't run specifically by a church group..
    We make this choice because we feel that any religious instruction is the parents responsibility. My wife believes in God and does attend church , however i have doubts that he exists or ever has. If my children ask me i will never tell them that there is no God as i could be wrong.
    my opinion on the pledge is that if parents object to the god part then there should be an allowance to omit it...at least untill the child is of a reasonable age to decide for itself.
    The child doesn't have to say the Pledge at all.

    People go their own route when they get older anyway.
    This atheist probably grew up saying the Pledge himself. It didn't make a difference.
    Silly bitch, your weapons cannot harm me. Don't you know who I am? I'm the Juggernaut, Bitchhhh!

    Flies Like An Arrow, Flies Like An Apple
    ---12323---4552-----
    2133--STRENGTH--8310
    344---5--5301---3232

  10. The Drawing Room   -   #10
    vidcc's Avatar there is no god
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    Originally posted by Busyman@25 March 2004 - 12:02
    [The child doesn't have to say the Pledge at all.

    People go their own route when they get older anyway.
    This atheist probably grew up saying the Pledge himself. It didn't make a difference.
    but in this case the parent just doesn't want the god part. He doesn't mind his child being patriotic. One shouldn't be forced to not pledge at all just because of ones religious views.. Of course a sensible action would just be that one doesn't say that part and let those that wish to, do so.
    in agreeance I have no doubt whatsoever that anyone has been swayed one way or the other as to Gods existance because they said the pledge.

    it’s an election with no Democrats, in one of the whitest states in the union, where rich candidates pay $35 for your votes. Or, as Republicans call it, their vision for the future.

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