Flutterby™! : March 24 2004 - Day one of the new enlightenment

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March 24 2004 - Day one of the new enlightenment

2004-03-26 13:07:06.857132+00 by ziffle 14 comments

I don't know if this was covered but I am so proud of Michael Newdow - read his arguments before the supreme court - http://www.nytimes.com/2004/03...7a6&ex=1080882000&partner=GOOGLE

He is a physician and became a lwayer I think for this reason, possibly. He stood in front of the supreme court and said "I deny the existence of god" - I wonder is this a first? We should note this day and make it a holiday - maybe someday we can cast off this tyranny of religion over life in the US.

Outstanding - It helps me to know there are people like Dr. Newdw.

Ziffle of Mayberry

[ related topics: Ziffle Religion Interactive Drama moron ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2004-03-26 14:34:36.852093+00 by: meuon

Religion is only a tyranny because we let it be. In typical USA fashion, religion has become an excuse for ignorance and rightousness. I tried hard to be an atheist for years and failed. God is. You just have to open your eyes and heart to see God. - But God is not what most churches teach about, they teach religion, which is about influence, power and money.

As for the phrase '..under God, " added by the efforts of the Knights of Columbus and others, when I was trying to be an atheist, I understood why it was there, and simply skipped it. It did not hurt me in any way, nor did I feel that I had issues with the Pledge of Allegiance. Now, my personal God is not exactly the same concept of most Judeo-Christians, but my God is inclusive of theirs.

Mr. Newdow has my respect for his excellent arguments and views, but he is an anti-theist, which is a losing position in the current society. I think most atheists and agnostics realize they do live in "one nation, under God", and enjoy their individual freedom while tolerant of the majority and are glad that there is not a Govt/State mandated religion like many other countries.

#Comment Re: on my soapbox made: 2004-03-26 14:58:07.19506+00 by: polly

i wonder when he became an atheist? he was a physician first, they see/experience first hand devine intervention, miracles, with some of their patients. lawyers? a lot of them are crooks, lol.

i am a teacher in an inner city school. our kids come straight from the projects, their parents and for some, grandparents came from the projects. they weren't taught civic duty, patriotism, how to say the pledge of allegiance or follow rules imposed by school administration. BUT, they do know that wednesday nite is church nite and that they will be in church sunday morning whether they like it or not.

my daughter was a generation "x'er", her son-i guess is called generation "y or z", i raised my daughter to "respect" authority. i also raised her to think for herself outside the box! and i made sure that she went to church every sunday & wednesday nite for her formative years, age 4 to 13. BECAUSE i wanted her to have a solid foundation of knowing right from wrong. i'm going to do the same for my grandson. then, when he is 13yo, as his mother did, he can decide whether or not there is a God, and whether or not he needs to go to church.

my point is, my middle school kids have no direction, there is no emphasis on love of country, patriotism, unification of the people of the USA, there is no reinforcement of what it means to be a member/a part of the USA. they have no connection. when 9/11 happened, i had the TV on in class when the news broke, i stood there in horror as the towers fell. i cried, and my kids? they couldn't understand what the big deal was. as one kid put it, "what does that have to do with me?" after i finished having my say about patriotism, duty, love of country, i think i made a slight dent in that kid's thinking. who knows? it's hard to fight years and years of prejudices and hate.

the pledge of allegiance under God is a slogan, it is an oath, that binds all americans together as one unit. the pledge is based on history. i don't think there were any atheists back then...maybe some closet atheists, but they sure didn't make it known. our children today need to identify with a country that they feel a part of. they have religion, their momas take them to church, but they need the connection and i think that the pledge of allegiance is part of the binding, the foundation, that we all need.

i tried to be a responsible parent while i was raising my daughter. i did not impose my personal beliefs on her. i do believe in God, i don't practice religion, but i do try to be a good person, well, most of the time, lol. i raised her to decide for herself what is right for her. she doesn't feel the need to go to church. but, she does feel there is a God. i will do the same with my grandson. if i was an atheist, i would still take my child to church, she would have known that i didn't believe in God, BUT, she would be allowed to make her own decision about God. religion? it's an act of faith, it isn't forced on you, christians will tell you that God gave us a will, that we are not push button robots. i don't always agree with the religious leaders/factors, in fact, i've started reading the mary magdalene chronicle, the daVinci code. can't wait to make comments about that! and yeah, religion was tarnished by man's interpretation of the bible, men have the say so, women are to submit to their husbands...blah, blah, blah. i bet that rep.heath in georgia is a baptist, lol.

well, that's my soapbox for today. i wish more people could experience the life of the inner city kid, then decide what should be done or what is needed. they are so disconnected from life outside the projects. "the tyranny of religion over life in the US?" that is what "free will" is for. you can decide what is right for you, just look at the whole picture and the people, issues such as this, touch. our country has changed...a lot. we are a disconnected people, values have changed. my grandson is going to have a hard time when he gets older and has to deal with the mess we are making with these inconsequental issues. i hope i am there to help him.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-03-26 18:00:42.246993+00 by: Dan Lyke [edit history]

Meuon, I think humans make a big mistake by conflating a sense of spirituality with organized religion. I totally understand the human desire for a spiritual practice and organized ritual. However, we need to stop relegating the mentally ill who see visions to the role of shaman, because that way lies... well...

Polly, I don't know how he came to it; I'd imagine that being a doctor and gaining an understanding of the processes of life helps, but certainly being exposed to lawyers can destroy one's belief in the existence of a greater good force in the universe.

I'd always toyed with atheism, I had an upbringing that drew from a broad array of faiths which showed me that those claiming the universal truth couldn't be right, but two things helped clarify my beliefs:

  1. I became aware that there are indeed entities which transcend the experience of the individual human. For one thing, societies and cultures behave like organisms.
  2. Those entities not only abide by the same greater physical rules that I do, their actions are arbitrary, capricious and often wrong, just like those of humans.

Furthermore, I realized that all of the positive actions that people ascribe to deities could as easily be explained by the efforts of humans (and in the few bizarre outliers, by chance). It was that understanding that whether or not there were deities, humans were the agents for good (and evil) that pushed me to think that gods were irrelevant, and if I were going to celebrate anything it would be the efforts of humans who worked to create the world in which I want to live.

[edit: had remains of a previous or subsequent thought in here that were left in accidentally]

#Comment Re: made: 2004-03-26 18:41:38.767042+00 by: Shawn [edit history]

Polly, I'm sorry but forcing (or "requiring", if you think that's too strong a word) your daughter to go to church - an organization whose purpose is to indoctrinate - does not strike me as teaching her to think for herself.

Furthermore, please understand that not all of us (in the societal sense, not the Flutterbarian one) believe religion (in general, and mono-theistic faiths in particular) teaches a proper foundation of right and wrong. A large part of why I generally despise religion is because I disagree with far too many of its principles - at least as they are taught in the majority of U.S. churches. I don't think religion provides a good base for morality. I think it provides a fertile breading ground for bigotry and narrow-mindedness. (Note, this is not to say people who believe in a God are automatically narrow-minded bigots - just that I believe following a religion makes it easier for a person be so.)

As for tyranny, free will exists everywhere. There is always a choice. Sometimes this choice is so extreme as to opt for death instead of submitting to tyranny. Choice and tyranny only have as much relationship as we allow them to have. The U.S. has more freedom than most places, but make no mistake - there is social tyranny regarding religion here. When my wife is afraid to wear her pentacle openly at family gatherings for fear we might be cut off from ever seeing our neices and nephew again, that is tyranny. When a doctor inists that a patient is mentally ill, and requires immediate commital, based on the "warning sign" that she doesn't believe in God, that is tyranny. When a mother in-law is screaming at you that "this would all go away if you just accepted God", that is tyranny. When a therapist says, "You don't believe you have a soul? Well, we'll work on that," that is tyranny. When bumper stickers everywhere say "God bless America", and I'm told to leave if I don't like it, that is tyranny. Yes, this tyranny can be ignored and occasionally avoided, but it's still there.

Dan, that is an excellent way to put things.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-03-26 22:01:38.952105+00 by: crasch [edit history]

Of course, what I wonder is why we force kids to mindlessly recite loyal oaths in the first place. Francis Bellamy, the author of the first pledge, was an American Nationalist Socialist. Early photos of kids performing the original pledge salute are quite chilling, for reasons that are evident.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-03-27 03:34:49.719422+00 by: polly

shawn, i didn't force my daughter to go to church. she knew there wasn't anything to argue about. however, at 13yo she had a mind of her own, was very opinionated and expressed her views very eloquently. she CHOSE to stop going to church when she started middle school, which at that time was 7th grade. now, it's 6th grade. i don't believe that it is necessary to go to church to worship God. i don't think it's necessary to be at the church every time the doors are open. but you know, at least she learned something about christianity. i'm not muslem, i'm not a buddist, or a nun, and i'm definitely not an expert about christianity. this is a part of religion that i'm certain about. i find it less threatening than some religions such as the waco in johannesburg that had every one drink poison, including the babies. or the other waco that was certain that there were superior beings behind halley's comet and had everyone drink poison or something to help them get to the comet, or something like that. the story is a little vague at this moment. i KNEW that going to the baptist church that i had chosen would have minimal negative influences on my daughter. however, while living in omaha, i was attending a pentecostal church where they TEACH the children to speak in tongues. THAT I DO NOT BELIEVE IN...this is a gift as explained biblically. i've always believed that and i believe that man is unable to teach anyone how to do that. we stopped going to that church after i had a few words with the preacher!

now, let me back up a minute, shawn, you are concerned that i forced my daughter to do something during her years of age 4 - 13. didn't YOUR mother make you do things you didn't like? and wouldn't you consider, now that you ARE a mature adult, that it probably was for your own good? otherwise, you would NOT be able to make mature decisions about what is right or wrong for you.

don't know about the mother-in-law thing, screaming about accepting God. i think if someone was screaming at me, i'd think they were crazy, right up there with the waco from johannesburg. actually, i've had 4 mother-in-laws, got along with all of them. not a single one of them EVER discussed religion with me or questioned whether or not i/we went to church. sounds like someone's mother-in-law has some "none of her business" issues. the pentacle? i am assuming this is a wiccan thing, i hope. wiccan is good. i believe in magic,fairies, dragons, elves, the "force" and harry potter. if we didn't have a little magic in this world, we wouldn't have dreams and fantasy.

i AGREE that churches are a good place to find bigotry and narrow mindedness. i've also found a minister who can cut through the crap and tell you, "that's a bunch of shit." some of these guys are real people. it's a little shocking to hear them say "damn", but sometimes it takes shock value to get a person's attention. i left this particular church because of a child being physically abused by his father, the church leaders knew about it, yet, felt that if they didn't say anything, that they would be able to help the child and the father. that was a bunch of bull.

the doctors thing, admitting people into mental hospitals because they don't believe in the God? that's a new one on me. i was admission secretary for the local state mental hospital for a year. that was NEVER one of the questions that were asked. give me a break. that sounds more like someone's doctor is looking for more money.

i won't/don't do therapists. they want to blame everything on your mother or your father. bullshit. my daughter became severly depressed, she gets moody sometimes, went to see a psychologist, first thing he asked was, "how's your relationship with your mother?" pissed her off, she told him very firmly that this was not ABOUT her mother, but about her. she never returned. she & i are best friends. i'm only 20 yo older than my daughter. she feels that she is older than me sometimes, lol. that's alright.

shawn, get a grip on your personal life, stay away from the mother-in-law, what you believe in is your business and she needs to know that. you and your wife are all that count. if her sisters/brothers with all the nieces & newphews are not understanding of what she believes in, then, guys, stick to what you believe in, don't compromise. as for those nieces & newphews, when they get old enough, they will come see you. ON THE OTHER HAND, your wife could consider tucking her pentacle inside her shirt as a show of respect for her siblings and what they believe in.....kind of like, not deep throating your date in front of your parents?

don't take everything you read literaly (God Bless America). if it offends your sensiblities, ignore it. shoot, if i took everything my students said to me at heart, i'd have to quit my job, THEN who would teach them? i was the fourth art teacher at my school in less than 2 years. i've been there 3 years now, i'm not going anywhere. AND THIS IS MY POINT, our children need the history behind our nation which started out as a difference of opinion in religion and the church of england, they need a foundation to grow on, and hopefully this will provide them the stability to grow as productive citizens of the US, make them aware that they HAVE a place in society, promote citizenship because right now, our kids aren't feelin' it, promote family values, because, by-God they don't have it at home. there has to be a foundation for anything to grow. all of the geeks had to learn the basics before they were able to leap into cyberspace and do the "geek" thing, same thing goes for people. we need a foundation to stand on before we can go out on a limb for something we believe in. i guess you could call it a "check & balance". i vote for the pledge of allegiance under God....or Supreme Diety or Mother Earth...what ever makes the connection.

i hope that i have made sense in this LONG reply...went out with some co-workers for drinks. i have had some wine. by the way, the daughter came over to see what i wrote. she wants you to know, that she CHOSE to go to church on her own. it didn't hurt her.

crasch, you think the early photos of children reciting the pledge are chilling? i've found the early photos of children in new york during the depression living on the streets chilling. little 5 yo put out because their parents couldn't feed them, they were sleeping on the heating grates with no shoes on in the dead of winter, piled up in a heap like a litter of puppies. i wish i had been there, i would have tried to help. i've seen halocaust photos taken by the germans to document the jews that were tortured. i remember very clearly one picture of a young beautiful jewish girl, maybe late teens, that the germans peeled her skin off her while she hung from a pike with her hands tied behind her back. you find the pledge of allegiance chilling? i'm thankful we don't have to deal with the monstrosities that the jews dealt with during hitler's regime, i'm glad there hasn't been a depression. i'm glad for the freedom of ANY relgion or the freedom to practice of NO religion.

well, i believe that is enough from this soapbox.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-03-27 07:46:43.640746+00 by: Diane Reese

Hoo boy. Where do I start. Probably the right answer is to just stay out of it, but on my single day home in between 2 week-long trips away, I guess I feel the need to retort, so put up with me, please. I won't be around until April 3rd to re-defend my positions. :-) Thanks for your thoughts, Polly, although I agree with very few of them. I'm glad you felt able to talk about them, and trust you'll feel open to my expressing alternate views.

don't take everything you read literaly (God Bless America). if it offends your sensiblities, ignore it.

(tongue firmly in cheek) Just as those professing religion generally ignore things on TV they don't like? Or marriages among gays, which they don't like at all? What's good for the goose is good for the gander: the day I'm happy to ignore things that offend my sensibilities is the day everyone else agrees to do the same. That day is unlikely to ever come.

[Shawn's] wife could consider tucking her pentacle inside her shirt as a show of respect for her siblings and what they believe in.....

Just as her siblings hide the crosses they wear, out of respect for her beliefs? NO CHANCE. You see, the problem is, for these people (and I don't know if you're one of "these people" or not, we don't have an ongoing discussion relationship established yet) it does not go both ways. It's, "I'm right, you make sure not to offend me and things will be fine," not, "Let's all be tolerant and accepting of each other."

the pledge of allegiance under God is a slogan, it is an oath, that binds all americans together as one unit. the pledge is based on history. i don't think there were any atheists back then...maybe some closet atheists, but they sure didn't make it known. ... they need the connection and i think that the pledge of allegiance is part of the binding, the foundation, that we all need.

Well, Polly, you've got some of your history wrong there. The "under God" part was added in the 1950s when leaders afraid of Communism decided we needed to inject it. (My father (now 81) still has trouble remembering to add that phrase, since he didn't learn it originally.) That Pledge you're thinking "we all need" has been corrupted by stuffing in a religious phrase that was not originally present. (And there have been atheists forever, probably as you note more than anyone realized because they were afraid to speak out, since those "open-minded" leaders in power were just so willing to ignore what offended them.) There should be no need for a religion to connect us: your religion does nothing for me, and my approach surely does nothing for you, yet we should still strive for connection as a nation.

our children today need to identify with a country that they feel a part of.

Great idea! Religion should have nothing to do with that. My children feel pretty alienated when they're around a bunch of religionists expecting my kids to agree with them. (PS: My children have been taught about world religions through a non-judgemental curriculum offered by the Unitarian-Universalist Association, enabling them *in actuality* to think for themselves and to have broad enough tools and knowledge to decide someday what they truly believe in.)

i vote for the pledge of allegiance under God....or Supreme Diety or Mother Earth...what ever makes the connection.

I don't vote for "under anything", I vote for the original: "One nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all". We Don't Need No Steenkin' overlord. We need to come together, and religion is not the way to encourage that, as the histories of most religions show all too clearly.

I don't accept that we have to live in a theocracy. I fear the divisive religionists who continue to press their narrow views on everyone else and are (unfortunately) in power now. As long as the prevailing view is that we need religion to become whole, we shall surely perish as an enlightened nation.

And now that I'm back from Zurich, I'm off to pack for a week on the east coast looking at colleges with the oldest teen... Save some flames for when I return, please. :-)

#Comment Re: made: 2004-03-27 13:26:35.707729+00 by: polly

diane, thank you for the alternate views. they are good ones. no, i don't wear a cross, never did. you are right, the siblings could show the same respect to their sister. there is a unitarian-universalist church here, i am not aware that they have a school. your children will be more prepared to deal with the issues of life, however, not all children have the opportunity to have a well rounded education. kids today, and i refer to the inner city kid mostly, are ill-equipped. their dreams are to be a famous basketball/baseball players, a rap star, or have a lot of babies. what percentage from this city are going to make their dream come true? the one most likely to succeed will be the babies.

i don't preach religion, or practice it, nor push religious views on anyone. i just feel that when things are changed/removed, something or someone is going to lose out. teachers & principals of the inner city are raising these kids. there is no support from parents. shoot, we've even got some kids whose parents have blocked the school phone number so we can't call home. administration is not allowed to paddle a kid unless there is written permission. most of our parents believe their kids. the teacher doesn't tell the truth. it gets nasty. these kids don't respect anything. so, now, there is no prayer in the school, the pledge of allegiance is being challenged, what else is going to be taken away? as each piece of the past is knocked away, what is going to take it's place? as you said, we need a connection as a nation.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-03-28 09:51:44.451605+00 by: Shawn

at least she learned something about christianity

And how much did she learn about Islam? Toaism? Secular humanism? Wicca? My point is that learning from religion is by definition one-sided. It is not balanced. It is necessarily biased. As such, I do not believe it makes sense for it to be touted as The Answer. This is a point Diane made that you did not comment on. Yes, something to bring us all together would be wonderful - I (and others) do not believe religion to be an appropriate choice for that.

i don't preach religion

That's true - you're not preaching religion (not here at least). But you are preaching that religion is The Answer - to a multitude of our biggest problems.

didn't YOUR mother make you do things you didn't like?


wouldn't you consider, now that you ARE a mature adult, that it probably was for your own good?

I agree that's what she believed. Was it really? As a mature adult, looking back, for the majority of issues, I'd have to say "no". In fact, I think a significant amount of harm was done to my social development - issues I continue to struggle with to this day.

the doctors thing...

I'm not talking about a mental hospital. I'm talking about a local hospital - with a psychiatric ward. The God issue was one of five "red flags". One of the others included interest in TV shows that feature supernatural characters. As for not being the policy at your place of work, so what? Does that make it fact everywhere else?

stay away from the mother-in-law

Hard to do, living in her house. (And just to clarify a minor point, the neices and nephew are on my side of the family, not my wife's.)

get a grip on your personal life

And why is it that you think I don't already have one?

...(God Bless America)...

I think you've missed my point. The bumper stickers I found only mildly irritating. What alarmed me far more were the vehement demands to leave the country if I didn't agree with them.

i won't/don't do therapists.

Excellent. Distill the sentiment expressed in that paragraph. Now, substitute God for therapist and you'll have precisely my viewpoint.

#Comment Re: i knew better... made: 2004-03-28 16:44:53.463673+00 by: polly

i usually have a policy of NOT discussing religion & politics with anyone, because everyone has their own opinion and it makes for some really intense moments when discussing it. what i believe in and what i think i usually keep to myself and not respond to what was said. i don't try to force my views on anyone, i do try to see both sides of the issue/situation. my concern is that if the statement "under God" is removed from the pledge, what is the next thing going to be changed or removed.

these changes affect everyone and i'll go back to my earlier statement, this trickles down to the behavior of school kids. we've taken discipline out of school, prayer has been removed, the 10 commandments are no longer with us, now we are looking at changing the pledge. all of these changes have affected the behavior of public school kids. a high school kid can stand there and tell you to f*** off and just get away with it by a warning...big deal. he's going to do it again. a middle school kid can walk out of the classroom whenever he feels like it and get away with it by just a warning and does it again. public school students don't feel any accountability for their actions. we have removed or are in the process of removing accountability by removing the "higher authority". and yeah, i hear you shawn, diane, and crasch, everyone's opinions are valid. but, have you looked at what has happened or is happening to today's kids? not the elite who have parents concerned for their education and able to think outside the box, i'm talking about the others without the concerned parents. all of these changes affect the public school kid directly.

keep on making the changes, what are you going to put in it's place? where is accountablity?

shawn, there is something wrong with where you live. if a hospital is going to put someone in the mental ward because the person is interested in supernatural creatures on television, then they had better start gathering up all the kids who watch saturday morning cartoons. and they better not come to see me, i watch charmed, angel, loved all the movies with vampires, i'm crazy over harry potter, lord of the rings (i think elves are awesome), star wars,...the list goes on. my daughter has every scary movie made since 1990 and loves the gory vampire movies. by the way, does supernatural creatures include "touched by an angel"? personally, i consider jerry springer hero worship as cause to put someone in.

i feel for you living with the mother-in-law. i lived with my mother for 3 years when dad died in 1998. i couldn't WAIT to get out, took me 3 years to do it, saved my sanity and me. you really have to bite your tongue when they (mothers) get going. when i said get a grip on your life, i was reading what you said, mother-in-law, therapists, your reaction to when idiots say if you don't like... leave the US...they have their opinions, you don't have to respond to what they say or get upset. i read some extreme emotion to what you were saying. hence, to my response. you continue believing what you feel is right for you and find peace.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-03-29 01:18:29.851557+00 by: Shawn

what is the next thing going to be changed or removed

And the reverse corollary is also true: If we keep adding stuff, where will it end? Removing "under God" is actually supported by your assertion that we shouldn't be altering the pledge. It wasn't there in the first place, so it shoudn't be there now.

there is something wrong with where you live

Yes, many fundamentalists agree with you. The Pacific Northwest is generally considered a bastion of liberalism and permissiveness. (Second only to San Francisco.) Yet even here the tyranny rears its ugly head.

...the behavior of school kids

We're talking in circles. I don't think anybody here disagrees with you that there is a lack of accountability with our society today (not just with school children), me least of all. The problem I have is with your assertion that the answer to this problem is the insistence on the existence of a divine overlord to keep us all in line - a cosmic carrot (heaven) and stick (hell).

What I see happening here is what I've seen happen time and time again when I've had similar discussions with those who believe in a divine being. All of your arguments are based (or at least seem so far to be based) on a core premise - a premise I believe is fundamentally flawed. Namely, that in the absence of a reward/punishment incentive people will naturally/automatically behave in an immoral, purely self-serving manner. This is epitomized by a question (known as the "ultimate proof question") that was put to me several years ago:

You stop at a diner in the middle of the desert. No one is around. On the counter is a $100 bill. Given that you know nobody will see you take the money, do you?

The assertion is that, if you don't believe in a divine order to the universe (God, Karma, etc.) then you will take the money. If you claim that you wouldn't then you either are lying or you do believe in concequences dictated by a divine structure.

Once again, my point is not that there isn't a problem with accountability, respect and honor in our society - it's that I honestly don't believe religion (or even faith in anything beyond oneself and other people) is the best answer to that problem. At best I think it's a band-aid cover-up.

you don't have to respond to what they say or get upset

I'm not upset. I'm occasionally concerned for my safety. That's what living under tyranny is all about.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-03-29 01:43:51.004172+00 by: Shawn [edit history]

(Last night I was too tired to be able to come up with a response to this that I felt wouldn't spark an invocation of Godwin's Law.)

early photos of children reciting the pledge are chilling?

Did you look at the pictures?

#Comment Re: made: 2004-03-29 20:41:34.878725+00 by: polly

yes, i did. i commented on them in an earlier response.

#Comment Re: Pictures and Nationalism made: 2004-04-01 05:58:12.540842+00 by: Mark A. Hershberger

Gotta say: the pictures don't creep me out. So, at one time the recommended salute was similar to the Nazi salute. So what? India is plastered with swastikas -- how's that for a scary thought?

As far as the pledge: you can chunk it for all I care. I am not a fan of nation worship.