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Columbia Atheists Message Board › Pledge of Allegiance

Pledge of Allegiance

Annie
user 9088049
Columbia, MO
Post #: 55
Columbia City Council voted this evening to amend the City code to REQUIRE Council recitation of the pledge of allegiance, complete with "under God," before all Council meetings and work sessions. Sturtz and Hoppe voted against it, with Sturtz explaining that "under God" was divisive, but the others voted in favor. Looks like a great public education opportunity for Columbia Atheists...
Carla B.
tekvet
Columbia, MO
Post #: 41
Facepalm... And here I thought Columbia was a bastion of normalcy in the midst of a sea of conservatism.
Greg D.
SquishyWizard
Branson, MO
Post #: 49
Interesting that they're making that move about the same time that Branson is making this move...

Think i've got a City Council meeting to attend...
Annie
user 9088049
Columbia, MO
Post #: 56
There are mutiple factors influencing the timing of this decision here in Columbia, and hearing about Branson doing it is probably one of them. The biggest influence, IMO, is that recent events (sudden turnover of multiple department heads in City Administration, including the City Manager, as well as Sturtz's decision not to run for reelection to the Council) have generated an opportunity for conservative forces in the City of Columbia to consolidate the gains they achieved in the last election, when McDavid defeated Wade and Dudley defeated Skala. What's interesting is that this also coincides with a move to more conservative governance for Boone County, with Robb defeating Christianson for Presiding Commissioner. It would appear that Columbia and Boone County are both shifting to the right.
Greg D.
SquishyWizard
Branson, MO
Post #: 56
More news on the Branson issue... What they're doing is a resolution to add "In God We Trust" to the Branson logo and make it the official city motto. News story: http://www.news-leade...­

I called City Hall today to ask them a couple of questions, and I was able to ascertain that this issue will be brought to the floor in a resolution in the Board of Aldermen meeting that will be held Tuesday the 25th of January, starting at 7pm. Private citizens are allowed to comment on any resolution or ordinance brought up at any meeting without having to actually be on the agenda. To that end, I have put together a few notes to guide what I will bring up when I have the floor. They follow, and I would welcome any comments or suggestions.



Item 1: Constitutionality

-Amendment 1 of the United States Constitution explicitly prohibits the United States Congress from enacting any law that establishes an official sponsorship of religion by the government

-Supreme Court Case Gitlow v. New York in 1925 held that the due process clause of the 14th Amendment applies the First Amendment to each state, including any local governments, such as that of the city of Branson.

-While it is true that in the 1984 Supreme Court case Lynch v. Donnelly, it was ruled that the phrase "In God We Trust" had "lost through rote repetition any significant religious content," and that such examples of "Ceremonial Deism" have lost their "history, character, and context," the statement by Mr. Dunn of In God We Trust-America, quoted in the Springfield News-Leader, that the god referred to by the slogan was "no doubt... the God of Abraham," recontextualizes the phrase to apply only to Abrahamic religions.


Item 2: The United States is NOT a Christian Nation

-As stated earlier, the First Amendment prohibits the establishment of government sponsorship of any religion

-Furthermore, a significant number of the Founding Fathers were not Christian, but were actually Deist, including Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, John Adams, Ethan Allen, Alexander Hamilton, and Thomas Paine.

-Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli, drafted in 1797 by John Adams, contains the following text: "...the Government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion..."

-The statement that we are "One Nation Under God" is a common historical fallacy on the part of many Christians. The words "under God" were not originally in the Pledge of Allegiance, and were not added to it until 1954, as a propagandistic attempt to stake out a sense of moral high ground over the Communists during the Red Scare.

-The use of the words "In God We Trust" on money did not begin until 1864, and was only used on coins (and not even all coins) until 1955, when (again in a propagandistic demonstration of superiority over Communists) its use on all currency was mandated by Public Law 84-140.

-The use of the phrase as the motto of the United States was legislated by Congress in 1956, through Public Law 84-851. However, the specific identification of "God" as "the God of Abraham" in the case of the proposed Branson motto changes the nature of the motto so that it can no longer be considered as Ceremonial Deism, and therefore no longer falls under the auspices of the Lynch v. Donnelly Supreme Court decision.


Item #3: Peaceful Coexistence of All People (not a legal issue, more about just being nice to each other)

-Mr. Dunn's claim of the god invoked in this motto being "the God of Abraham" clearly shows that this motto is only meant to be inclusive of adherents to Abrahamic religions. This not only belittles any residents who may be Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, Daoist, Jainist, Wiccan, Pagan, or Deist, but also implies that such people are unwelcome in the city limits, and has the potential to make them feel disenfranchised.

-Moreover, even if the god invoked were not so specifically identified, such a motto would have similar effects for Agnostics, Atheists, Secular Humanists, Brights, Skeptics, and Freethinkers.

-It is beneficial to the general welfare of everyone to pursue peaceful coexistence and avoid oppressing, whether intentionally or unintentionally, any minority within society.
Carla B.
tekvet
Columbia, MO
Post #: 43
Excellent points. My only suggestion is to be prepared to shorten your remarks if they give you a 1-2 minute time limit.
Vanette
user 11546408
Columbia, MO
Post #: 8
Greg,

I've used the following technique at council meetings when faced with a time limit. Try to find two or three like-minded people beforehand and split the talking points between you. Of course this will also show greater support for your position.

Good luck!
Greg D.
SquishyWizard
Branson, MO
Post #: 57
I thought about maybe splitting up the Items between me and two others... I know that there will be at least three of us present from Branson Freethinkers (if not more), so that may be a good way to go.
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