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Why I Pledge Allegiance to an Atheist America

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Why I Pledge Allegiance To An Atheist America

The Puritans of England were a devout people who distinguished themselves in the mid-1500s by adopting and adhering to John Calvin's doctrine of Total Depravity. [1] This doctrine is based upon the story of Eve, the primordial woman who ingested the fruit of knowledge against the will of their god thereby making all women prone to evil. Accordingly, man's desire for women and the evils they are said to embody enslaves all men to sin. Total Depravity's solution to this curse is to subjugate women, live a life of joyless hard work and obey the dictates of their church. It asserts that only god's grace will save mankind from an eternal damnation and to prepare for this grace it is incumbent upon them to unify their church and state into an example of their Bible's "city upon a hill." [2] Their communities were natural allies with other separatist groups that had waged one hundred years of conflict against the established English church and monarchy. In 1642 the First English Civil War erupted and in 1649 Oliver Cromwell, a Puritan and military general assumed political power. They ruled England, Scotland and Ireland with reckless inhumanity and administrative incompetence until they too were ousted in 1660. From then on, they were merely tolerated as a fanatical over-zealous fringe of religious crazies and were left alone to practice their devotions to Total Depravity.

In effect, they were a stern and paranoid people always on guard against evil eyes, devils, and what they called, venomous spirits, which they found most often in single or widowed women whose property, upon death, went to the men of the church. The historical records of Europe and England document more than fifty thousand church-led trials and executions with unrecorded estimates in additional thousands. [3] It is timely to note that the definitive handbook used to determine the presence of witchcraft and its prescribed punishments was first written in 1376 and revised in 1578 and titled, Directorium Inquisitorum. Translated from the Latin, it says, --for punishment does not take place primarily and per se for the correction and good of the person punished, but for the public good in order that others may become terrified [emphasis added] and weaned away from the evils they would commit." [4]

A shunned but determined people, they set out to evangelize, colonize and terrorize the New World. By 1640, the Massachusetts Bay Colony registered over twenty thousand residents and by the 1690s had conducted scores of witchcraft and heresy trials. Records show the names of thirty-two victims, mostly women, who were condemned to death and executed. [5] Many more languished to death in prisons. This was all a part of America's historic fabric when in 1787 a new generation of men rose up and said, enough. These were well-educated men in literature, the arts, science, history, philosophies and languages. They were men of The Enlightenment who put their faith in the inherent goodness of humanity. They believed in a new world American that required nothing less than all the rights and opportunities necessary to live in peace with liberty and justice for all. It was an assembly that included Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and others who put aside the church Bible and its Directorium Inquisitorum in order to draft and ratify the Constitution of the United States. It begins,

" We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

            Nowhere in the full Constitution of the United States are the words, God, Creator, Deity, or Divine. It is a non-theistic, secular document without reference to religion, deities, depravity, sin, superstition or supernatural powers beyond the scope of "We the People of the United States""

In today's world, the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life found that 16% (45 million) of Americans are either agnostic or atheist while in California that percentage jumps to 21%. [6] These percentages are consistent with a similar study by Trinity College's, American Religious Identification Survey of 2008 that reports: "Whereas Nones [atheists, agnostics] are presently 15% of the total adult U.S. population, 22% of Americans aged 18-29 years self-identify as Nones." [7] California is also home to Dr. Michael Newdow, atheist, emergency room physician and lawyer. His daughter is one of six million children currently enrolled in California's public schools [8] where the daily recitation of our nation's 1954 congressionally amended Pledge of Allegiance invokes, inculcates, and pays tribute to a purported deity as in, under God. Considering that it was a fervent political coalition of conservative Catholics and Protestants that pressured Congress to insert the words, under God, into the original god-free Pledge, Dr. Newdow filed a 2010 suit (Newdow v. Rio Linda Union School Dist.) [9] with the San Francisco-based United States 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to re-omit the words, under-God. Dr. Newdow contended that the state mandated invocation of a deity constituted a violation of the First Amendment to the Constitution that expressly forbids government endorsement of religion.

The original god-free Pledge was first written 1892 by Francis Bellamy who was a vice-president of the Society of Christian Socialists and staunch advocate for the separation of church and state. Bellamy's living children and grandchildren were outraged by its theft and misuse. Bellamy's son diligently opposed all efforts to amend the Pledge with under-God--".["].on the grounds that his father utterly objected to such a clear conflation of church and state." [10] Bellamy's great-granddaughter stated that her ".["].great-grandfather"[was a] deeply religious man, [but] was also a strict believer in the separation of church and state"He intended the pledge to be a unifying statement for [our] children. By adding the phrase "under God' to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954, Congress"divided our nation further rather than uniting its citizens." [11]

In March 2010, Judge Carlos Bea wrote the (Newdow v. Rio Linda) majority 2-1 opinion that upheld the use of, under God. Judge Bea was born in Spain and is a Roman Catholic. [12] He was appointed to his lifetime position in 2003 by the born-again Christian president, George W. Bush. The second vote of this meager majority was cast by Senior Circuit Judge Dorothy Nelson, who in her career has also sat on the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'i Faith. [13] The mission of Baha'i, as stated by their avatar, Baha'u'llah (1817-1892), is to bring the will of God, referred to as He and Him, into public life. [14] Judge Carlos Bea wrote, "The Pledge of Allegiance serves to unite our vast nation through the proud recitation of some of the ideals upon which our republic was founded." [15] He further wrote, "The Pledge reflects many beliefs held by the founding fathers of this country -- the same men who authored the Establishment Clause -- including the belief that it is the people who should and do hold the power, not the government. They believed that the people derive their most important rights, not from the government, but from God." [16] Judge Bea explained that the Pledge of Allegiance was examined as a whole and wrote, "In doing so, we find the Pledge is one of allegiance to our Republic, not of allegiance to the God or to any religion. Furthermore, Congress's ostensible and predominant purpose when it enacted and amended the Pledge over time was patriotic, not religious." [17]

To an outside observer, Judge Carlos Bea's opinion seems to repudiate the very foundation of the American Constitution, an utterly god-free secular document that established the United States as a nation of laws, not beliefs. To say that our founding fathers, --believed that the people derive their most important rights, not from the government, but from God," is to assume they were too ignorant, illiterate or stupid to say so. Instead, and on the contrary, regardless of what Judge Bea believes the founders believed, what they actually created was a government of, for, and by the people, not as subjects below, beneath or under any king, priest, dictator, or god. If Judge Bea finds the Pledge, --not of allegiance to the God or to any religion," then why is under God required?

Psychological projection is a pathology that Sigmund Freud described as an unconscious defense mechanism used to ascribe one's own thoughts, feelings, and beliefs onto others. So when judicial telepathy outweighs the reading of the Constitution as written, it bends the mind to find balance in either justice or itself. But a cauldron of blind, backhanded lunacy really begins to boil when the Judge writes, --Congress's ostensible and predominant purpose when it enacted and amended the Pledge over time was patriotic, not religious." On its face, this argument is nonsense. A casual Google search will turn up megabytes of dedicated under-God lobbies that were driven entirely by politically right wing Catholics and Protestants. Year after year, they spit hellfire and damnation from pulpits to Congress until America was declared a god-fearing nation. In fact, the moment after under-God was signed into law, congressmen gathered around the Capitol flag pole and were led in the newly christened Pledge by the Senate Chaplin while a single bugle played Onward Christian Soldiers. [18]

It was the time of the Cold War and the Red Scare raged. The nation had been stirred into a frightful state of nuclear doom while Catholic Senator, Joe McCarthy's deranged Congressional Committee investigations, called witch-hunts, [19] found traitors and spies everywhere they looked. Into this breach stepped the Christian clergy who made allegiance to their god a way to root out anti-American communists, atheists and liberals from government and society. However, what got lost in their catechisms of loyalty and faith is the very core of what made America free. It is not adherence to political ideology, religious beliefs or gods--it is the practice of democracy with liberty and justice for all.

To students of history, the entire issue begs several questions. To what sort of patriotism do these godly refer? Is it to the principles laid out by the fathers of our Constitution or to a mystical godhead who lives in an unseen world? Otherwise, by what truth or reason would the Constitution be so overwritten and made so incidental to the vague and proprietary articles of their faith? Is it the same strain of hallowed authority established by our Puritan forebears who remember, were unabashed imbibers in the Doctrine of Depravity? Their demented marriage of church and state shows how fear, greed, and ignorance fuel an hallucinatory engine of lies, torture, plunder and death. They demonstrate how religion amplifies credulity over conscience in order to turn their own unspeakable acts of terror into something divine, sacred and pure--the will of god, they say. They showed how to enrich themselves in service to their gospel by ridding the land of evil--and acquiring the wealth of its heathens, heretics and witches.

To even discuss the depravity of these devil makers does an embarrassing disservice to human conscience. Yet, in our own new millennium, the highly politicalized and dubious decision of five god-fearing Christian Supreme Court Judges, [20] (Bush vs. Gore, 2000), awarded the presidency to George W. Bush. Shortly after the September 11, 2001 Trade Tower attacks, Bush went to the U.S. Justice Department and asked two lawyers, Jay Bybee, a Mormon, [21] and John Yoo, a Roman Catholic, [22] for the legal means to override all existing law, treaties and conventions against war crimes, crimes against humanity, and torture. These Torture Memos gave our Christian president the authority to capture, imprison, and torture detainees into whatever confessions were necessary to justify wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Coincidentally, the same oil and mineral reserves that our nation's troops were sent to protect have since been contracted into the private property of the Bush-Cheney oil cartel. [23] However, in 2005, Rupert Cornwell, a reporter for the U.K. newspaper, The Independent, wrote an article titled, "Bush -- God Told Me To Invade Iraq." [24] It contains a transcript of a BBC broadcast called Elusive Peace: Israel and the Arabs. In it, Bush explained his actions to Palestinian foreign minister Nabil Shaath and former prime minister Mahmoud Abbas:

"I'm driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, "George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan.' And I did, and then god would tell me, "George go and end the tyranny in Iraq,' and I did.

"I'm surely not going to justify war based upon God. Understand that. Nevertheless, in my case, I pray that I will be as good a messenger of His will as possible. And then of course, I pray for forgiveness.

"he [Bush] told [reporter] Mr. Woodward, "I was praying for strength to do the Lord's will."

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I was born and raised in Los Angeles, got a BA in anthropology from Cal-State University, L.A. I then traveled the world for a number of years before settling in northern California where I was involved in organic farming and continued with an arts (more...)
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