Saturday, September 17, 2005

Thoughts on the Pledge--And Other Annoyances

On Wednesday, a federal judge in San Francisco ruled that reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools is unconstitutional. Judge Lawrence Karlton ruled that the pledge's reference to one nation "under God" represents “a coercive requirement to affirm God."

Writing about the decision, Dr. Albert Mohler said the following:

What does all this mean? Christians should be careful to think clearly about the Pledge of Allegiance and the current controversy. Secularists like Michael Newdow represent the hard edge of ideological attacks upon all expressions of theistic belief in the public arena. The truth is that the courts have allowed and driven a constriction of religious liberty such that any public reference or acknowledgment of the beliefs common to vast millions of Americans is now considered to represent an unconstitutional establishment of religion by the government.
In recent years this has meant the eradication of prayers at public events such as graduation ceremonies and football games, and the removal of monuments and emblems from government property and vehicles.

All this puts believing Christians in a difficult position. After all, the Court has ruled that symbols and references to a divine being are allowable only insofar as those references point to no specific deity. Beyond this, the courts have ruled that the only permissible reference to deity is a reference that so reduces the definition of deity that it appears difficult for all but the most ardent atheist to object.

Because of this, Christians must not defend the presence of the word "under God" in the Pledge as a direct reference to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob--the Triune God whom Christians worship as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. At best, the presence of this language in the Pledge and similar expressions on the nation's currency represent an acknowledgement of a power higher than the State itself and the nation's dependency upon that power for its safety and well being. Nevertheless, a decision from the Supreme Court that would require the removal of "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance would represent a disastrous imposition of official secularism as the nation's public commitment.


Mohler followed up his commentary with a radio show covering the same topic, and he is clearly ambivalent, I think, about the Pledge. But, and perhaps I’m missing something, isn’t Mohler effectively saying we should violate the Fourth Commandment (“"You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.”) in order to prevent “a disastrous imposition of official secularism as the nation's public commitment.” If we are unable to speak of God in the traditional Trinitarian sense, are we not engaged in blasphemy?

Brannon House, author of One Nation Under Man? The Worldview War Between Christians and the Secular Left (Talk about a tired title), said, "If we don't teach our children in school that there is a God, that there is an authority higher than government, then government becomes the only authority. What the government gives, the government can take away.”

Let me say this slowly for the benefit of Mr. House. The public schools are a(anti) theistic by definition, and it is beyond ludicrous for Christians to assume their children will learn about God or His Law within the bowels of these temples of atheism. It is the fear of God that teaches wisdom (Job 27:28, Ps. 111:10, Prov. 1:7, Prov. 9:10, Prov. 15:33) and while the Christian has answers to life’s great philosophical quandaries (How did we get here? What is the problem with the world? How do we know what we know? What happens when we die? Etc., etc.), the guardians of cultural Marxism systematically exclude our remedies in favor of a materialistic worldview.

Writing in better times before conservative theologians were nearly universally lackeys for The Man, J. Greshem Machen, penned the following thoughts about public education:

In the state of Oregon, on Election Day, 1922, a law was passed by a referendum vote in accordance with which all children in the state are required to attend the public schools. Christian schools and private schools, at least in the all-important lower grades, are thus wiped out of existence. Such laws, which if the present temper of the people prevails will probably soon be extended far beyond the bounds of one state, which will mean of course the ultimate destruction of real education. When one considers what the public schools of America in many places already are-- their materialism, their discouragement of any sustained intellectual effort, their encouragement of the dangerous pseudo-scientific fads of experimental psychology-- one can only be appalled by the thought of a commonwealth in which there is no escape from such a soul-killing system. But the principle of such laws and their ultimate tendency are far worse than the immediate results. A public school system, in itself, is indeed of enormous benefit to the race. But it is of benefit only if it is kept healthy at every moment by the absolutely free possibility of the competition of private schools. A public school system, if it means the providing of free education for those who desire it, is a noteworthy and beneficent achievement of modern times; but when once it becomes monopolistic it is the most perfect instrument of tyranny which has yet been devised. Freedom of thought in the middle ages was combated by the Inquisition, but the modern method is far more effective. Place the lives of children in their formative years, despite the convictions of their parents, under the inimate control of experts appointed by the state, force them then to attend schools where the higher aspirations of humanity are crushed out, and where the mind is filled with the materialism of the day, and it is difficult to see how even the remnants of liberty can subsist. Such a tyranny, supported as it is by a perverse technique used as the instrument in destroying human souls, is certainly far more dangerous than the crude tyrannies of the past, which despite their weapons of fire and sword permitted thought at least to be free.

The truth is that the materialistic paternalism of the present day, if allowed to go on unchecked, will rapidly make America one huge 'Main Street,' where spiritual adventure will be discouraged and democracy will be regarded as consisting in the reduction of all mankind to the proportions of the narrowest and least gifted citizens.


Machen wrote these words In Christianity and Liberalism in 1923. A day in which the Ten Commandments were posted, children could pray in school, there were no TVs, X-Boxes, or rock ‘n roll, and the culture was more-or-less "Christian" by our way of reckoning.

Speaking of lackeys, Hugh Hewitt writes that Afghanis and Iraqis are emulating Madison, Hamilton, and Patrick Henry. Evidently, if they sit down and read and read David McCullough's latest, they'll be on the way to jump-starting a freemarketcapitalistdemocratic utopia. Send a few copies of the Federalist Papers and they'll really be ready to roll.

Jerry Falwell comes out of the closet and says to hell with property rights and freedom of association.

Prophecy-Monger Kookdom!

Is the Vatican going to crack the whip on homosexual priests?

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