When the 9th Circuit Court of
Appeals made its ruling on the pledge of allegiance, I didnít
think I would be writing about it. Iím not a topical writer;
itís not my style. Moreover, the topic did not lend itself to
my particular interests. However, Mario Giardielloís column
has prompted me to change course.
Letís start with some basics. First, our
Founding Fathers and Framers, some of whom were deists and
indeed skeptics, nevertheless understood that God must enter the
picture if we are to establish a limited government. We are a
nation dedicated to the proposition that human beings have
natural rights that can never be taken away, ever. Who
establishes these rights? Well, Jefferson said that they are
"endowed by our Creator." He knew what he was saying.
For if man establishes rights, what would be the justification
against dictatorship? This is no wishy-washy faith.
Mario is right that the Knights of Columbus
brought the phrase under God into the pledge. But remember that
communism had to eliminate God from their societies for a
reason. Any faith in God holds that an individual has a higher
calling than to the state, and that would be intolerable in the
Soviet Union, Maoist China, and scores of other places. The
phrase under God not only affirmed what we were for in 1954, but
what we opposed in "the long, twilight struggle."
Now letís say that you donít buy this.
Fair enough. You should not be coerced to subscribe to this
view. The government should protect atheists and communists
alike, provided that they donít deprive others of their
However, to decree that God cannot be invoked
is to establish a religion of "non-religion." To
establish that God will not be spoken is as coercive as to
decree that God will be spoken. This is because atheism is a
religion, as much as any other faith, because it is pure
speculation, without a shred of evidence. So people should be
able to choose for themselves whether or not they wish to invoke
Therefore, individuals should be able to
decide for themselves on whether they want to say the pledge.
There have been recent judicial rulings affirming this very
But should society consecrate a ritual that
invokes God? Isnít that unfair to those who donít believe in
God? It is here that individuals who reject the pledge begin to
overstate their case. They believe that not only do individuals
have the right not to say the pledge, but also they are free
from feeling uncomfortable, so nobody can say the pledge.
Mario clearly holds this position. "How would a young,
confused atheist boy in second grade feel when everyone is
praying and pledging their allegiance to God? Left out, and
Well, tough on them. There is no right
anywhere in the Constitution that says individuals are given the
right to feel comfortable, and not feel left out and weird. It
is axiomatic that dissenting minorities on a host of issues
should be able to express their views without being coerced by
the dominant majority. But what Iíve noticed is that many
dissenting, "principled" minorities are not satisfied
with that. They feel entitled to impose their will on the
majority. Life doesnít, or shouldnít, work that way.
Iíve written columns before that articulate
a minority position on one issue or another. Expect more of
these columns from me in the future. But I would never have the
audacity to consider my views as having any authority beyond
their ability to persuade. The right to dissent does not confer
the right to prevail.
Iím somewhat surprised that I have to point
these things out, albeit it is to a small minority of people.
Well, sometimes people should be reminded of certain things,
whether they are willing to listen or not.
by David McCullough
by Ann Coulter
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