I Pledge Allegiance to Hypocrisy

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“Do you have the courage to spread this around unashamed?

‘I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” I grew up reciting this every morning in school, with my hand on my heart. They no longer do that for fear of offending someone. Let’s see how many Americans will repost without fear of offending someone.’” – Stupid post on FB

Screw. You.

How’s that for not being afraid of offending someone?

Seriously – Screw You.

Tell me where you can’t say the Pledge of Allegiance. Please, feel free to enumerate the number of different school districts that aren’t saying the pledge. I’m waiting.

Most of those with their knickers in a twist don’t realize that the Pledge wasn’t adopted by congress until 1942, and that in 1943 the Supreme Court ruled that no child can be compelled to recite it. Say it again with me: More than 70 years ago the Supreme Court ruled that it is illegal to compel a student to recite the pledge.

According to Pew Research, in the 1943 U.S. Supreme Court decision, West Virginia v. Barnette, Justice Robert Jackson wrote: “If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein. If there are any circumstances which permit an exception, they do not now occur to us.”

But, in case you’re still worried that there’s a problem with the Pledge not being recited, 45 states require schools to have the Pledge recited daily. Only Vermont, Oklahoma, Hawaii, Iowa and Wyoming don’t have an absolute requirement to say the Pledge. Which of course doesn’t mean they’re prohibited from saying it, they’re just not required to take time from classes to do it.

Usually I ask people who post this if their kids are being prohibited from saying the pledge. To date not one person has answered me. Not one person has said that it’s affecting their children. It’s just a good way for them to get wound up and tell themselves that things were ever so much better during our youth. You know, the halcyon days of civil unrest and rampant sexism. Yes, the good old days when women and people of color knew their place.

Yes, no one has ever answered or offered up the name of a school or district that doesn’t allow the pledge, It’s a boogieman for people who post this stuff on their wall. They don’t know where this is happening, but they sure are upset about it.

There’s another thing about the Pledge most people refuse to acknowledge, and that’s the whole ‘under God’ thing. It was not added to the Pledge until 1954 at the height of the cold war. It was a way to show we weren’t Godless communists like the Ruskies. It was an act of bluster and a show of religion which is still being fought over by parents who don’t want God in their Pledge. I happen to agree with them that it violates the separation of church and state. Funny, but the very people who worry that it’s not being said enough are the very people who have no problem with God getting into everything. Mostly because they’re sure it’s their God that’s being represented. Not Yahweh or Buddha or Allah. You know, the real god.

The tempest in a teapot that is the worry over the Pledge not being said is similar to people who get bent out of shape about Happy Holidays or Season’s Greetings. It’s not really a problem. They know it. They KNOW it. But they need to have something to feel persecuted about. They need to feel like they’re a victim or a martyr. It feeds their narrative that the country has veered away from what they perceive to be its Godful track. Which of course brings us back to the question: Whose God and what denomination are you comfortable breaking the First Amendment with?

Just in case anyone’s forgotten this: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…” It’s the first clause of the first sentence of the first amendment. How much clearer could the Founding Fathers have been? Why is it those God-botherers who insist I practice their religion don’t read the explicit instructions we were given?

There’s one other thing I’d like to know about people who have whipped themselves into a froth about their perception that children are not saying the Pledge of Allegiance every day: Are you saying it every day? If so, why not? I mean, it’s really important, isn’t it? If it’s the way all school children should start their day, shouldn’t you as an adult be doing the same thing? Shouldn’t you lead by example? It seems the country has managed to chug along without having the adult population stand up with their hand over their heart and recite the almighty Pledge.

Because if you’re not doing it, you’re exactly what I suspected: A hypocrite.

A Slow Motion Accident On Ice

Ju suis Charlie 1

Charlie Hebdo.

How many here in the United States knew that name before yesterday?

Now we all know the name and that 12 are dead, and 11 are injured over freedom of the press and freedom of expression at a French satirical newspaper.

I remembered the name from the November 2011 fire-bombing of their offices after they ran a front page cartoon of the prophet Mohammed saying, “100 lashes if you are not dying of laughter,” while at the same time promising the revered religious figure would be the guest editor-in-chief for the next issue. The newspaper set off a fire storm literally and figuratively. It poked fun at all religions and had no sacred cows.

Their offices were burned out then, but the paper continued on.

Charb – the pen-name of the real editor-in-chief and famed cartoonist Stephane Charbonnier – told BBC that Islam could not be excluded from freedom of the press. “If we can poke fun at everything in France, if we can talk about anything in France apart from Islam or the consequences of Islamism, that is annoying.”

Charb was among those killed in yesterday’s attack.

Charb also felt that the 2011 bombing was the work of “idiot extremists” and not French Muslims. Unfortunately the people who shouted, “Allahu Akbar,” and “We have avenged prophet Mohammed,” were in fact home grown terrorists. Of the 3 suspected, 2 are brothers are from Paris and the other 1 is from Reims.

*Note* At the time this was published a Reuters correspondent named them as Said Kouachi, born in 1980, Cherif Kouachi, born in 1982, and Hamyd Mourad, born in 1996. A police source said one of them had been identified by his identity card which had been left in the getaway car.

Time and court will decide if these 3 are the culprits. But it raises the larger question of why and how this could happen, and what kind of people would do this?

The simplest answer is the straight line – the people who would do this hate the notion of others having the freedom to say what they’re thinking, especially if that idea offends them. I hate the fucking freedom card, but there it is in all its glory.

How this could happen? Well, now that’s a longer answer.

Part of that answer is ISIS, who has been around in various iterations since 1999. It is a group that pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda and propped up the insurgency in Iraq. And there’s the problem. The insurgency wouldn’t have existed if we hadn’t invaded a sovereign nation under false pretenses.

The invasion ruined their country and our finances. What a great deal for everyone involved.

The thing is, we went in, toppled a dictator that was no worse than most we deal with, and not as bad as some, and left an absolute vacuum of power when we offed him. That vacuum has led to the rise of the fine folks in ISIS, who want to return us to 10th century rule.

And now that beast is biting us in the ass.

Here’s the thing: It’s not enough to leave the extremists alone anymore and let them fight it out amongst themselves. They’ve brought the fight to Western Civilization. We won’t abandon our right to free speech or the right to practice religion (or not) under any circumstances. It’s the cornerstone of our societies. We swat down those who pretend otherwise. Although, I will admit that our own extremists pretend this is a Christian nation, but thankfully they are mostly overridden.

So, what happens then? It’s like watching a slow motion accident on ice – the cars slide toward each other and there’s no way to stop it. It goes forward and everything crashes together. That’s what’s going to happen here.

ISIS desperately wants a fight, and they’ll get it. They’ve been going at it asymmetrically, and it works for them right now. These things are horrifying and make us feel vulnerable, but ultimately they won’t win. When Western Civilization comes at them it will be with the wrath of technology and well financed nations.

They have neither the resources nor the power to win this round. But, it’s the collateral damage that’s worrying. They know they can’t win, but ISIS is only interested in creating chaos.

How we react is the big question. How are we, as Western Society, going to respond to the attacks and growing hostility from extremists who are not content to live their own lives in their own version of piousness, but instead insist that we live that way, too?

Will we push back against the extremists, or will we push against all Muslims?

I hope for the former and not the latter. We have enough needless hate in the world, we don’t need more. There are plenty enough people to actually fight against that we don’t need to make up more.

The only other thing I can say right now is:

Je suis Charlie

and

Thank you Paris for caring.

Je suis Charlie 2

Torture is the Reason for the Season

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“This man got his head sawed off while he was still alive and you liberal pricks show concern over sleep deprived terrorists and waterboarding?”

How utterly charming.

Nothing says the reason for the season like excusing torture and reducing people you disagree with to vulgarities.

Do people actually think when they post such nasty stuff that others will spring to action to tell that person how right they are? Do they think they’ll be changing any minds?

It’s always interesting to see someone take a proverbial dump on their wall, crow about their viciousness like it’s a virtue, and then sit and wait for the positive affirmations to come rolling in. It’s always satisfying when they don’t get what they’re looking for.

In this case I couldn’t be more thrilled that after a 24 hour period this person had only one other wing-nut agreeing with him. Of course, that person was a 9/11 truther so it added an extra helping of wing-nuttery to the affair.

Did this person think he would win hearts and minds by calling people he disagrees with a prick? Because –personally – I find that nothing makes people listen and to consider my point of view more than name-calling and demeaning them as if you were in Middle School. Yessiree, it just opens the lines of communication.

Yes, it’s amusing to watch a professed Christian who has put up a ‘Jesus is the Reason for the Season!’ picture, only to vigorously defend torture a few days later.

Too bad he didn’t take the time to brush up on the Christian operating manual and read as far as Matthew 5:23 “But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.”

Or, he should have headed over to Proverbs 20:22 “Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!” Wait for the LORD, and he will avenge you.”

Perhaps the most important religious admonition comes from Mathew 7:12 “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” I think this is as simple as it gets. We are not treating others as we would have them treat us. I fear our troops might get treated exactly as we’ve treated others and they will be subjected to rectal feeding and sleep deprivation, with an order of death from hypothermia on the side.

You can argue ifs and buts all day long. The truth is you either follow the Bible and what’s known as the Golden Rule, or you don’t. Religion is not a buffet where you pick and choose what you want. If you support torture you go directly against a fundamental cornerstone of Christianity. There’s really no wiggle room here.

You can’t mouth the words you’re a good Christian and support torture at the same time. Don’t get mad at me – I didn’t make the rules.

So, until you actually practice being the Christian you pretend to be please forgive me if I don’t take you seriously.