Thursday, September 15, 2005


Well walking out the door, on my way to work this morning, I picked up my local newspaper. Normally I read only the sports page, but here lately I have found myself reading the front page. Why, I am not too sure, it's pretty much always the same. The world as we know it, is going to hell in a handbasket, and when I read the front page, or the editorials, I usually just end up getting angry at the foolishness of society as a whole. Today was no different.

I picked up the paper ignoring it until I got to work. I settled into my chair at my desk inside a little office. I flipped straight to the sports page like always, and since the Cardinals lost yesterday it was a fast read. The Cardinals, Bears, and Illini coverage here in Winston-Salem, NC is pretty slim.

So against my better judgement I picked up the front page. I read about the confirmation hearings of John Roberts, then flipped the page to see this headline, "Reciting the Pledge silenced anew." Sadly, I read the article.

It seems that our friendly, neighborhod atheists in California have sued to abolish the reading of the pledge because "under God violates school children's right to be free from a coercive requirement to affirm God."

That took me to memories of the 7th grade when my home room science teacher Mr. Shryock, would start each class period off with a moment of silence, and reciting the pledge of allegiance. Did I attend a private, Christian based school? Nope, I went to Loucks Middles School in Peoria, Illinois. A very public school.

I never really cared at the time, I was just a stupid 12 year old kid. It wasn't an organized prayer time, it was just a moment of silence, where we were allowed to pray. If you didn't want to pray, you just sat there and shut up for a moment. Then we recited the pledge.

It's funny how you remember some of the samllest things growing up. More on that later.

I also thought back to my high school days. My 3 years I played varsity football at Peoria Central High School, my Coach was Larry Lavery. I admired and respected Coach Lave a lot, he was instrumental in teaching me the value of hard work.

Before every game we would as a team kneel down and recite the Lord's Prayer - as I'm sure a lot of teams do. Did I feel it was a "coercive attempt to require me to affirm God?" No, I just thought it was a simple way of building team unity, and a prayer for the safety of players in a violent sport.

A few years ago while at a Central basketball game I happened to see Coach Lave and I asked him about that prayer. You see, at the time I didn't care about God, I believed He existed, but I didn't care one lick about him. Since then though I am a new person, born again. I asked Coach Lave about that, and told him that if someone had complained he might have gotten fired.

You know what his response was? He told me that he played or coached football for 45 years, in high school, college, and even playing a few seasons in the NFL. He told me he said the Lord's Prayer before every single game. Amazingly, in 45 years of football, he never was involved in any game where a player was seriously hurt. When I told him that if someone had complained he simply said "I don't give a damn, if they want me to Coach without praying asking God for the safety of those involved, then they will have to find a new coach."

So now it seems the pledge is under attack. "Under God" is a coercive attempt of the government to affirm God. You know, when I was a kid, I never felt any coersion, I was just a stupid kid. All I cared about was whether or not the Cardinals won yesterday, or what mom was cooking for supper. Looking back on it now though, I am glad that I had the opportunity to say the pledge. Thankful for the opportunity to live in a country where I get to go to school. Thankful to live in a country where there is always food for mom to cook. Thankful to live in a country that does (or at least did) "affirm the existence of God".

Furthermore, when I was 12 years old, the only rights I had were the right to behave in school or suffer the wrath of my dad. I had the right to respect my teachers, parents or once again suffer the wrath of my dad. I had the right to keep my room clean or any other chores necessary around the house. Allowance, I didn't get no stinking allowance, I did it because I was told to. Unless of course you consider supper that night allowance.

Today we now have kids with "rights," that sounds nice on the surface doesn't it? I mean after all who would infringe on the "rights" of a kid. Meanwhile we teach them that they are more important than everyone else, we teach them to look out for number #1. Guess what, when we teach kids these values, they become adults with those values. Make no mistake about it this is not just an attack on the pledge, it is an attack against the basic principles of morality established by God, that is inherently opposite to man.

Well I for one am proud to say that I am thankful for laws, I am thankful for some sense of morality. I am thankfull that God is indeed in control of things, regardless of whether or not Michael Newdow and his atheist buddies feel that they are coerced into it.

Well my question is, since "under God" can no longer by said in public schools in California, what should we change it too? What would make Michael Newdow and his buddies, who make up about 10% of the population who feel this is unconstitutional, what would please them? Heaven forbid we force our beliefs on Mr. Newdow, but then again I ask: whose views are being forced upon whom?

I've got an idea, I will throw out and see if you guys like it, how about "One Nation under Canada but above Mexico."

That's got a little ring to it, and geographically we are under Canada but above Mexico, well at least until the Mexican liberals decide that they are being looked upon as beneath Americans, and sue to have it changed again. I suppose nothing will make Mr. Newdow happy.

So I have a better idea, and if you're reading this and a member of the 10% who feel this is coersion, I suggest you quit reading because...

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.