Mark Alexander / June 28, 2002

Freedom from religion?

The Leftjudiciary left us wondering this week if one of those al-Qa'ida terrorist sleeper cells wanting to reduce our homeland to ruins is masquerading behind the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals bench. The three-judge panel ruled 2-1 Wednesday that the Pledge of Allegiance is an unconstitutional endorsement of religion because of the 1954 congressional law adding the words “under God” – and must be banned from public school classrooms.

Judge Alfred Goodwin issued this circuitous pronunciamento: “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.” Of course, this wrongly treats public statements of personal beliefs as if they created adoption of an official national church denomination by Congress.

The reaction from all sides was swift and predictable, but no one should be shocked by such a ruling in a political culture where the First Amendment is persistently misconstrued by the courts as the guarantor of freedom from religion, rather than freedom of religion.

President George Bush deemed the decision “ridiculous.” House Speaker Dennis Hastert noted the remedy: “Of course, we are one nation, under God. The Pledge of Allegiance is a patriotic salute that brings people of all faiths together to share in the American spirit. It’s time for the Senate to move forward and confirm some common-sense jurists.” In the Senate, Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) summed up the legislative branch sentiment, “In recent years, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned 27 of 29 9th Circuit decisions so that tells you that the 9th Circuit is out of step with the rest of the federal judiciary.” Even California Leftextremist Barbara Boxer feigned concern, and termed the ruling “embarrassing,” while her Leftleader Tom Daschle said, “We strongly disagree with the decision made today” – they both form the gauntlet between President Bush’s judicial nominees and confirmation. (Both House and Senate chambers convened early Thursday morning to recite the Pledge.)

The view of The Federalist is that the Constitution’s First Amendment has zero relevance to atheism – and thus that atheists have no proper standing to bring lawsuits on these grounds. How so? The private belief in no god is not constrained or coerced by any common public acts or interactions. Only Leftjudiciary activists have “written” such “interpretations” into the First Amendment’s prohibition against the central government’s establishment of an official religion. Furthermore, as we have articulated repeatedly in these pages, the overarching issue is FEDERALISM – the Tenth Amendment was adopted to protect the several states from such intrusive legislative and judicial intrusion by reserving to the states the full authority to decide matters not specifically explicated in our national constitution.

In his lone dissent, Judge Ferdinand Fernandez said, “[U]pon Newdow’s theory of our Constitution, accepted by my colleagues today, we will soon find ourselves prohibited from using our album of patriotic songs in many public settings. ‘God Bless America’ and ‘America The Beautiful’ [and the third stanza of the Star Spangled Banner] will be gone for sure…. And currency beware!”

Memo to the 9th Circuit Court: We checked, and even you open your sessions with the proclamation “God bless the United States and this honorable court.” Footnote: Goodwin Thursday stayed his own ruling, and the Justice Department has requested an en banc review of the decision.

Regarding the Leftjudiciary, we have noted previously that the real center of government power now resides with judicial activists. Make no mistake, when candidate George Bush declared that he would nominate “constitutional constructionists” for the bench, that sent shockwaves through Leftcadre Sociocrats. Many of the political shenanigans this year have been aimed singularly at regaining the Senate from Daschle Demos – who are holding 45 of the president’s federal bench nominees hostage in an unprecedented power play. Making matters worse, we expect a retirement announcement within days from the Supreme Court – likely Justice Rehnquist.

In other news, President Bush stated his plan for seeking peace in the Middle East through a “provisional” Palestinian state. His proposal for the conditions of Palestinian statehood sent shockwaves through the world of international diplomacy. Speaking on Tuesday from the Rose Garden, Mr. Bush outlined the necessity of democratic reform within the Palestinian Authority, including the removal of Yasser Arafat, to whom the president implicitly referred when he described the current Palestinian regime as “compromised by terror.” “Peace requires a new and different Palestinian leadership, so that a Palestinian state can be born. I call on the Palestinian people to elect new leaders not compromised by terror,” Mr. Bush said. “When the Palestinian people have new leaders, new institutions, and new security arrangements with their neighbors, the United States of America will support the creation of a Palestinian state.” The president’s proposal consists of three major structural changes for the Palestinians: 1) replacing the current leadership; 2) creating a constitution and parliamentary government to insure the distribution of power; and 3) establishing effective security measures to end terrorist acts against Israel. If these provisions are met, said Bush, the transition from provisional to permanent statehood can take place within three years.

In response, Yasser Arafat announced his candidacy for the January elections. President Bush reiterated that the U.S. would not accept Arafat as the Palestinian leader, even if elected. “I meant what I said, that there needs to be change,” said Bush. “If people are interested in peace, something else has got to happen.”

The president’s plan got a tepid reception in the Muslim world, and was soundly rejected by the European Union – who are saying and doing anything to avoid becoming an al-Qa'ida target.

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