Wednesday, March 05, 2003

Shame on Michael Newdow. He may be a peach of a guy, but I have to say I’m disappointed in him, and people like him. If you don’t know, last year Michael Newdow brought a suit against the United States, the United States Congress, the State of California, two school districts; and their officials. And what was the reason? What was the injury? His daughter had to be exposed to the Pledge of Allegiance. Yeah, that 15 second little thing we say at the start of school.

So, what is it about the Pledge that was so grievous to Mr. Newdow? Yeah, the “under God” part. Mr. Newdow is an atheist. And that is his God given right. No pun intended. Seriously, he has the right to not believe, to not recite. He has the right to teach his children his beliefs as well. So, this is why he has brought suit. In an interview a CNN correspondent, he said that he “has the right to bring up my daughter without God being imposed into her life by her school teachers”. Imposed? God is now an imposition? OK, OK, it’s the Christian in me to sneak that in. But even if I were to be all totally politically correct, and keep my personal beliefs out of it, I’m still astounded.

I’m trying to put myself in his place. Trying to think of something offensive that my children might be exposed to on a daily basis. Something that they can block out if possible. Or something they can say by rote, and not even understand. Get the point? Children are taught the Pledge of Allegiance, and they barely know what they are pledging to. Same way they are taught prayers, that they might not comprehend yet. As they mature, they’ll decide if they truly will want to pledge allegiance to their country and their God.

And what of Mr. Newdow’s daughter? Ah, here’s the thing. She’s not an atheist. She is being brought up by her mother, as a Christian. Evidently, her dad, Michael Newdow, is challenging the custody of her mother, Sandy Banning. They are not married. You can draw your own conclusions here.

Mr. Newdow also wants to change our currency too. No more, “In God We Trust”. With the exception of Native American beliefs, this country was founded on Christian principles. The idea of God is not new, not by a long shot. Should God and State be mixed? I don’t know if I even care any more, but I guess the law says no. OK, if you want to get technical, perhaps the Pledge of Allegiance does the unthinkable. But for almost 60 years, we’ve been saying “…One Nation, under God…”. Why is this now such a problem? Especially now. We need God more than ever, and by God, we need Allah and Buddha too. We need Mother Earth, Elijah, and Moses. We need Gandhi and Mother Theresa. Anything, anyone - that will inspire all the peoples of all the nations to watch out for one another, care for each other instead of tying up the judicial system with lawsuits about a 15 second pledge that doesn’t hurt anyone.