Tuesday, June 15, 2004

“Inevitable consequence”

I have a hard time taking the pledge of allegiance debate too seriously. “Under God” doesn’t bother me any more than “In God We Trust” does, or opening Congress with a prayer. Sure, it probably shouldn’t be there (and wasn’t at one point), but I chalk that up to tradition more than anything else. Christmas is a federal holiday just because it’s a day that’s always been celebrated, not because we’re all Christians.
The whole “Under God” pledge argument seems to be one of those insignificant issues that certain people pick in a cause to make their point.
It’s all about noise, not results.
It’s no surprise the Supreme Court took the easy way out and decided they could not hear the case because the father doesn’t have custody.
But buried at the bottom of a concurring opinion, Sandra Day O’Connor made what may be the clearest statement about the whole mess:
Certain ceremonial references to God and religion in our Nation are the inevitable consequence of the religious history that gave birth to our founding principles of liberty.

Translation: It’s not good or bad, right or wrong. It’s there and it will be, so get over it and worry about things that really matter. Stop making noise and start getting results.
Some might say that O’Connor (whose hand I shook, years ago as a child dragged by his mother to see a famous historical figure) leaves the door open here for Ray Moore styled histrionics and evangical rape of common sense. Other than simply doubting it, I’d say that it is in explicit denial of such. The opinion recognizes that a nation founded by white protestants will, even hundreds of years later, inevitably hold on to little quirks here and there. Let’s not fight out every single one, it says, but worry about the big ones that actually matter.
I call it the pragmatic interpretation.

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