Friday, September 06, 2013
"Under God" Under Attack With A New Tactic
This of course has become routine for those who seek to eliminate God from public life in America.
Generally these suits revolve around the argument based on a misrepresentation of Thomas Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptists.
Past cases have argued the words "under God" violated the Constitution's separation of church and state.
However, this suit is not claiming "violation of separation of church and state."
You likely know the words "under God" were added to the pledge in 1954 and have been under constant attack in recent years.
This case makes a different argument. And it bears watching.
The Massachusetts plaintiffs want to remain anonymous, but their lawyers are taking an unconventional approach---a new attack on challenging God.
They say the pledge, which students recite daily in public education, violates the state's equal rights laws because of the words "under God."
They are saying it's an "equal rights" issue rather than a separation of church and state issue---at least in their mind.
David Niose, former president of the American Humanist Association and the plaintiff's representative, opened his argument this week saying the pledge's use of "under God" violates the 'Equal Rights Amendment' of the Massachusetts Constitution and is an issue of discrimination."
Where do they think our rights come from? Are they unaware that in America we have rights because we claim them to be God given, not government bestowed?
If they refuse to believe our rights come from God as the Declaration declares, perhaps they have no rights, at least any that are sustainable.
Why are the mere words "under God" so offensive?
The anonymous family claim the pledge's repetitiveness in the public school system is indoctrination and alienating to atheists.
Niose says, "It validates believers as good patriots and it invalidates atheists as non-believers at best and unpatriotic at worst."
Another family in Acton-Boxborough, Mass. Regional School District has countered and filed a suit claiming they want their child reciting the pledge as it is presently written.
Eric Rassbach, with the Beckett Fund for Religious Liberty, has intervened on their behalf.
Rassbach says, "It would be terrible to enshrine in the law this kind of allergy to God that the plaintiffs have."
He also reminds the court that it has been illegal to force someone to recite the pledge since 1943.
A West Virginia case ruled that students could not be forced to salute the American flag or say the pledge in school.
This was considered a big win for Jehovah's Witnesses, who will not salute or make a pledge to symbols. Atheists applauded as well.
This case is now before the Massachusetts Supreme Court. The judges have heard the case and it's expected they will rule in about 6 months. They will rule on the basis of the briefs, there will be no testimonies.
Clearly Massachusetts is a very liberal, secular progressive state, not unlike Washington, Oregon and California. One would assume the philosophy of the Court would reflect the philosophy of the state.
Should the plaintiffs win this case on the basis of "Equal Rights" and "discrimination," atheists and secularists who want to remove God from public life will try to replicate this suit in states with similar laws.
That's why this case carries more importance than the others that are regularly filed.
Atheists in America are not an isolated minority. Although a very small minority, they are highly funded and work in harmony with one another in changing policy in the country.
The Secular Coalition for America runs a policy lobbying firm in Washington DC for the express purpose of influencing laws and policies to favor the secularist and atheist.
Earlier this year, the Washington Post ran an article about Pope Francis' pronouncement that "God has redeemed all of us...even atheists."
In the article, the Post published a map revealing where and in what number atheists live in the world. You will note that less than 4% of Americans are "convinced atheists" while 40-50% of China's population is atheist.
We have seen the damaging results of the Freedom From Religion Foundation's work, most recently their influence with the Pentagon and the undermining of religious freedom for our military personnel.
Josh McDowell told a group of parents, "The Internet has given atheists, agnostics, skeptics, the people who like to destroy everything that you and I believe, the almost equal access to your kids as your youth pastor and you have... whether you like it or not."
Lee Strobel agrees. He says, "The Internet has helped atheists and agnostics coalesce as never before."
So how should Christians respond? Share the message of the gospel with them as individuals as opportunities are presented.
Culturally and socially?
Be Vigilant. Be Informed. Be Discerning. Be Active. Be Prayerfully. Be Blessed.