Archive - Mar 23, 2004

The Supreme Court

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Memo to the Supreme Court: YOU WILL BE DUMB.

In accordance with the Bush Administration's doctrine of pre-emptive strikes, we at You Are Dumb Dot Net have substantial intelligence. That substantial intelligence leads us to believe that the Supreme Court will overturn the ruling that says "Under God" shouldn't be in the Pledge of Alliegance. As a result, they will qualify as DUMB.

Of course, the Pledge itself is stupid. It's a waste of time. I've recited the pledge thousands of times in my childhood, having been forced to do it in homeroom, in assemblies, and whatnot, and yet, somehow, I neither watch Fox News nor attend church services regularly. It is therefore ineffective, and should be sanctioned under the No Child Left Behind guidelines.

Are we afraid of moles? Enemy agents who will be ferreted out or turned by recitation of this magical phrase? Are we afraid that children will grow up not realizing they are American citizens? They're children, for fuck's sake. You've got about a two week window between when they finally understand what they're being asked to say and when they stop caring for this "pledge" to have any effect at all. It's pointless ritual.

But if we gotta have it, and apparently we gotta, judging by the amount of uproar this has been causing, then jamming "Under God" into it back in 1954 in a blatant power grab by the Yay Jesus crowd should be reversed. Because grammatically, the Pledge of Allegiance is tantamount to state sponsorship of monotheism.

Yes, I said grammatically. Because if you strip away all the bullshit that people arguing about this use to support your position, the question you're left with is what, exactly, does the Pledge say? I don't care how long we've been saying it. I don't care how important it is to insecure Christians that they need the government to constantly acknowledge their majority and power. Let's look at the words in question.

The Pledge of Allegiance is entirely in the present tense. The Pledge is surprisingly verb-light, but both verbs, "pledge" and "stands" are present tense. With no other indicators, we must therefore conclude that the whole thing is intended to be in the present tense. Ergo, the Pledge claims that RIGHT NOW, in the present, the United States of America is "under God".

Second, "God". Singular. The possibility of more than one God is summarily excluded. One could go even further and say that the strong implication that this is the Christian God is there in spades, but we're talking pure grammar here.

So there we have it. Every single day, in schools across the nation, people in a position of power are making the statement in front of students that, right now, the United States is under one God. State-sponsored monotheism. Clear violation of the First Amendment. The government should not be expressing a preference for one god over many gods, or one god over no gods. End of story.

Of course, that's not how it's gonna go down. Not with this Supreme Court. Not in Dubya's America. Not in a country where it's perfectly OK for journalists to ask presidential candidates if they accept Jesus Christ as the son of God (Newsweek / Howard Dean) or if God is on America's side (Debate moderator / John Kerry). And certainly not with this test case. Atheists really need better poster boys than a father with limited visitation rights whose babymomma actually disagrees with him about the whole Under God thing.

Nope. God's going back into the Pledge with the help of at least six, and probably more, of his berobed Divine Hands. Because they won't be doing their goddamned job, which is to look at the facts and see how they stand. And even giving the Pledge an unfair benefit of the doubt, it breaks the rules. But it'll get a pass, because the Supreme Court will be DUMB. Guaranteed.