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BS: US ...pledge of allegiance ruled out!

GUEST 27 Jun 02 - 06:57 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 27 Jun 02 - 06:54 PM
katlaughing 27 Jun 02 - 06:49 PM
CapriUni 27 Jun 02 - 06:16 PM
Bill D 27 Jun 02 - 04:34 PM
Kim C 27 Jun 02 - 04:10 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 27 Jun 02 - 04:00 PM
GUEST,Nerd 27 Jun 02 - 03:50 PM
irishajo 27 Jun 02 - 03:45 PM
katlaughing 27 Jun 02 - 03:36 PM
PeteBoom 27 Jun 02 - 02:55 PM
CapriUni 27 Jun 02 - 02:49 PM
Naemanson 27 Jun 02 - 02:36 PM
GUEST,petr 27 Jun 02 - 02:33 PM
InOBU 27 Jun 02 - 02:09 PM
Mrrzy 27 Jun 02 - 02:07 PM
axman664 27 Jun 02 - 02:06 PM
Mrrzy 27 Jun 02 - 01:27 PM
DeanC 27 Jun 02 - 01:08 PM
Peter T. 27 Jun 02 - 12:58 PM
Jim Krause 27 Jun 02 - 12:56 PM
Kim C 27 Jun 02 - 12:13 PM
Jim Dixon 27 Jun 02 - 12:05 PM
Amos 27 Jun 02 - 11:51 AM
Mrrzy 27 Jun 02 - 11:50 AM
Peter T. 27 Jun 02 - 11:49 AM
CapriUni 27 Jun 02 - 11:47 AM
Bill D 27 Jun 02 - 11:45 AM
DonD 27 Jun 02 - 11:40 AM
An Pluiméir Ceolmhar 27 Jun 02 - 11:35 AM
Haruo 27 Jun 02 - 11:14 AM
SharonA 27 Jun 02 - 10:40 AM
SharonA 27 Jun 02 - 10:38 AM
Mrrzy 27 Jun 02 - 10:27 AM
artbrooks 27 Jun 02 - 10:20 AM
SharonA 27 Jun 02 - 10:13 AM
Peter T. 27 Jun 02 - 10:09 AM
SharonA 27 Jun 02 - 09:53 AM
Kim C 27 Jun 02 - 09:53 AM
sian, west wales 27 Jun 02 - 09:48 AM
Little Hawk 27 Jun 02 - 09:44 AM
irishajo 27 Jun 02 - 09:44 AM
RichM 27 Jun 02 - 09:41 AM
MMario 27 Jun 02 - 09:29 AM
SharonA 27 Jun 02 - 09:26 AM
GUEST 27 Jun 02 - 09:21 AM
SharonA 27 Jun 02 - 09:19 AM
GUEST,JTT 27 Jun 02 - 06:31 AM
Hrothgar 27 Jun 02 - 06:20 AM
Wolfgang 27 Jun 02 - 04:07 AM

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Subject: RE: BS: US ...pledge of allegiance ruled out!
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 06:57 PM

Please continue discussions in Part 2 of this thread


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Subject: RE: BS: US ...pledge of allegiance ruled out!
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 06:54 PM

Hi, Capri:

Nope, just trying to add alittle lightness to this thread. It all goes back to MY childhood. One of my closest friends when I was eight or nine years old (whose Mother had basically abandoned him from birth and only let him live with her occasionally) caught Dick saying "Geez!" and she insisted that it was short for Jesus. I thought that was very weird, and I said Geez all the time (pretty bland in my neighborhood) and had never thought I was using a code word for Jesus. But, after Dick was punished for it, he tried to break the habit by saying "Jeepers" instead. When his Mother heard him say "Jeepers!" she figured he was just using a more obscure variant on Jesus (as In Jesus, Creesus, where'd you get those peepers.) So, Dick had to break that habit, and did so by saying "Jeeps." For some reason, she didn't associate that with swearing so, well into High School Dick was the only guy I knew who said "Jeeps!" Not even Beaver Cleaver said Jeeps.

So what does this have to do with anything? I don't find this whole thing a major issue, one way or the other. Now if SAYING the pledge of allegiance would create liberty and justice for all, we wouldn't be in the mess that we're in today. To use an old biblical term in a thread that is pretty antagonistic to such things, I judge a tree by its fruit. I think that it's very wise to have a sceptical attitude toward government. I don't think taking "Under God" out will have any effect on this country, any more than leaving it in has. Taking it out will offend different people than leaving it in has. That's about all...

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: US ...pledge of allegiance ruled out!
From: katlaughing
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 06:49 PM

BillD, you are on an eloquent roll today; I love it when you do that! what Bill said! Can we copy and paste that to our congresspeople?!*g*


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Subject: RE: BS: US ...pledge of allegiance ruled out!
From: CapriUni
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 06:16 PM

Jerry: I read somewhere that they're going to make the expression Geez! illegal because it's short for Jesus.

Oh, Geez!

(Or maybe, as a Pagan, I should say "S'horns!" [short for: The God's horns])

Please, please, please tell me you read this in The Onion.


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Subject: RE: BS: US ...pledge of allegiance ruled out!
From: Bill D
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 04:34 PM

I just listened to a Republican senator from N. Hampshire on NPR huff & puff and call the circuit court decision ridiculous.

(paraphrasing)..." well, we ARE a nation under God! Everyone with any sense knows that. The founders all wanted religious ideals..There's no doubt we ARE a nation under God"....(he must have repeated that 3-4 times)..

Now this is the attitude that truly worries me!...A person in authority..(like Sen. Byrd of W. Virginia also, a Democrat, who called the judges "stupid") who simply does not question the idea that religious values are supposed to be out there in everyone's face!..

This attitude.."I believe it, it MUST be true, so anything we do in service of the 'truth' is fair & right." is truly scary!...When we read of abuses of women by the Taliban in the name of 'religion', we see the problem, so why is it NOT a problem just because our issue is not as brutal or extreme?

The solution is simple..public ceremonies and institutions where attendance is mixed and/or mandatory should have NO declaration of religion or belief...then all may go attend their own private, sectarian services and pray, worship, discuss etc, any way they please, with full freedom to do so. If they wish to pray during a 'public' ceremony, they can do so silently...I'm told God can hear them just fine! Doing it out loud by majority rule **IS** a pushy, assertive, agressive, pressure laden attempt to stamp their way and beliefs as 'right'....and as you see, some perfectly sane, reasonable people object to having their children told--whether explicitly or by example, that there is ONE truth and ONE way to express it!

I know what the outcome of this will be...the Surpreme Court will get into it and rule by...oh, maybe 7-2, that "under God" remains IN....they are getting used to the idea that they can make policy, rather than just intrepret..*grin*...but this court case has sure given us long-suffering "Pledge of Allegiance" haters a nice platform for a bit, hmmmm?


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Subject: RE: BS: US ...pledge of allegiance ruled out!
From: Kim C
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 04:10 PM

What if we make it a generic "god" with a little g?


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Subject: RE: BS: US ...pledge of allegiance ruled out!
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 04:00 PM

I read somewhere that they're going to make the expression Geez! illegal because it's short for Jesus.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: US ...pledge of allegiance ruled out!
From: GUEST,Nerd
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 03:50 PM

People are getting pretty hysterical on this issue. LH, Banjer, et al., nobody is trying to OUTLAW the pledge of allegiance (whatever that means), or prevent you from saying any damn thing you want to. Pledge allegiance to Corn Flakes every morning for all liberals and atheists care! People just don't think it's right to pressure kids into saying it as part of their public, tax-funded education, or to include it in official government events. I think it's so obvious that such usages violate the bill of rights that I wonder what there is to argue about. The court's ruling was obviously correct.

I went to private school and never had to say it, so I have essentially no feelings about it that are personal. But why, if a child is an atheist, or for that matter a polytheist, should he have to swear that his country in "under God" every morning? Or as an alternative, mark himself as a religious minority and a potential "non-patriot," and open the door to ostracism and persecution? Why link the issues of patriotism and God into one ritual? Is this not precisely what the separation of Church and State is supposed to protect us from?


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Subject: RE: BS: US ...pledge of allegiance ruled out!
From: irishajo
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 03:45 PM

Building on what Jim Dixon said, how many people would like to be led by their supervisor in reciting the pledge at their wordplace each morning? Would they feel uncomfortable refusing to do so?


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Subject: RE: BS: US ...pledge of allegiance ruled out!
From: katlaughing
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 03:36 PM

I think the full quote from Mrrzy's link bears posting:

"America is a nation that values our relationship with an Almighty," Bush said. "Declaration of God in the Pledge of Allegiance doesn't violate rights. As a matter of fact, it's a confirmation of the fact that we received our rights from God, as proclaimed in our Declaration of Independence."That document, in which American colonists declared their independence from Britain in 1776, said the colonists had been "endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights."

Bush said the ruling "points up the fact that we need common-sense judges who understand that our rights were derived from God. And those are the kind of judges I intend to put on the bench."

Boy, he sure has "god" figured out, doesn't he? Of course "god" did this only for the USA and all those other countries which claim divine right must be heathens!

I do not doubt for a minute that those involved in writing the Constitution did experience what might be called "divine guidance" but, I believe it is clear they did NOT designate what or whose "Creator" or "Providence" to which they referred. Knowing that some of them were Masons and Rosicrucians and having been affiliated with same most of my life, I would say they meant a very personal type of god, one that each person could express for themselves, OR not, i.e. very tolerant.

Whoever first used "may your god bless you" was on the right track..to each his own and it harm none.

Jim Dixon, I don't know if they do anymore, but I think I remember the adults, et alia, saying the Pledge at rodeos when I was growing up.

kat


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Subject: RE: BS: US ...pledge of allegiance ruled out!
From: PeteBoom
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 02:55 PM

I'm reminded of the family story of a relative of mine who came home from school VERY upset - oh, third grade maybe. When asked WHY was she upset, she said it was because they always had to stand for those darned Republicans. She was tired of standing for those Republicans and wasn't going to do it any more... Guess which party HER family supported.....

The ruling won't stand, then those upset now will be justified, and those happy now will be upset. What a world.

Pete


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Subject: RE: BS: US ...pledge of allegiance ruled out!
From: CapriUni
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 02:49 PM

Re: Mrrzy's flagging of the Washington Post article on the issue, a quote from Shrub:

"it's a confirmation of the fact that we received our rights from God [...]"

Well, first off, among the first of those rights is the right not to have the words you say to and about that god (or gods, or laws of physics) dictated to you by Congress...

Second, I can't help but wonder what all the ghosts of those who have fought for the rights we now enjoy (from the foot soldiers in the Revolutionary War to Harriet Tubman, to Susan B. Anthony, to Martin Luther King, Jr., to...) would say about that: "What are we, chopped liver?"

Third, Our government isn't built around the Declaration of Independance, and the court didn't decide that it was anti-Declarational...

But then again, I understand that understanding history is not Shrub's strongest point...


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Subject: RE: BS: US ...pledge of allegiance ruled out!
From: Naemanson
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 02:36 PM

I am offended and I want that offense to go away! I am offended so YOU have to change your ways. It matters not is the resolution to my problem offends you.


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Subject: RE: BS: US ...pledge of allegiance ruled out!
From: GUEST,petr
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 02:33 PM

Bush commented that we need more judges with common sense - if that were the case he wouldnt be president.


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Subject: RE: BS: US ...pledge of allegiance ruled out!
From: InOBU
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 02:09 PM

Like Mrrzy, as a Quaker kid (during the Mcarthy era!!!) not only did I not recite the pledge at all, I did not stand for the pledge or the national anthem... no it was not easy, and it brings really painful memories on one hand, but on the other a real pride in the tenacity of our faith in light of attempts to make us conform. In light of the return to overt discrimination against Quakers (under the new executive order discussed in other threads) I am greatly pleased by the 9th cir. and say "Well done - Thy decision reminds me of the old 9th!"
As to the question about "In God we trust" on the currency, before that phrase was added, US money had the phrase, "mind your bisiness" no joke! I like that, it has a sort of Quaker ring to it, be frugle, careful, and don't bother the other fellow! OH what a lovely notion.
Larry


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Subject: RE: BS: US ...pledge of allegiance ruled out!
From: Mrrzy
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 02:07 PM

Yikes - check out this article from today's Washington post... I'm not recopying here as I'm not sure of the legalities...


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Subject: RE: BS: US ...pledge of allegiance ruled out!
From: axman664
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 02:06 PM

Greetings, all! Here are my humble and mostly un-informed opinions, so I appreciate your patience...

The term "under God" I believe to be valuable to our nation, in that it reminds us that we are not unaccountable; we are accountable to something else, something other; I would say "someone" else, a higher power, a Creator, Designer, Judge…an "Absolute", if you will, though one with personhood. Our actions as a nation are judged in a Higher Court, as are the actions of all nations. It is interesting to hear astronomers nowadays speak on the issue of deity; many peer into the outer reaches of spacetime and are convinced that there is a design to it all, and therefore, a Designer (cf. "Space and Spirit," Baltimore Sun; June 9, 2002). The founders of the Constitution did not say this was the Christian God because many (esp. Jefferson) were simply theists. Anyway, this belief in Accountability may not be popular with many of you…that's o.k., those who disagree can exercise their right not to say those two words, or choose to except full responsibility for the education of their children and teach them at home.

Leveller, I don't think the 2nd commandment can be applied to the Pledge of Allegiance, though the Jehovah's Witnesses would indeed make that case. I show allegiance to my wife, though I don't worship her; I show allegiance to my softball team, though I don't worship it. Actually, in this age of technology, it makes sense to pledge allegiance to a flag, since our culture has become very visually oriented, and thus symbol-oriented (anyone notice that you don't see the word "Nike" anymore…just the swoosh?) The flag is a symbol of the "republic for which it stands," and it is neither "propaganda" nor "indoctrination" to teach children loyalty to something other than themselves; in this case, to a nation that has provided much for them, despite all of its flaws. (Is not a nation comprised of people? Let's show her some grace…) Nor is the flag a graven image used to replace God, or to be a visual representation of God or of any other deity.

Liland, the I agree with the problem you face with "tolerance" as a virtue; it simply seems impossible…when tolerance is the highest virtue, than absolutes cannot be tolerated. It contradicts itself.

Little Hawk, can a country be "one nation…indivisible," and still be comprised of vastly different parts and ideas ("diversity")? How would this differ from our nation?

Lastly, Jim Dixon, next time you are in Annapolis, MD, come to Chick and Ruth's Deli (Annapolis' favorite dive) for breakfast where every morning the Pledge of Allegiance is spoken at 8:30am. And if it's a concern to anyone, they will still serve you eggs if you don't COMPLY, ha ha.


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Subject: RE: BS: US ...pledge of allegiance ruled out!
From: Mrrzy
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 01:27 PM

I thought the Under God thing was an anti-COMMUNIST thing. And yes, let's take it out, and while we're at it, let's not make anybody say it anyway. It can be learned in school the same way that anything else can be learned in school... but I wouldn't MAKE anybody say it...


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Subject: RE: BS: US ...pledge of allegiance ruled out!
From: DeanC
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 01:08 PM

I remember when the "under God" clause was added (I would have been in 4th grade, I guess). It seems to me there was some discussion of its constitutionality or at least its appropriateness at the time. I certainly remember being uncomfortable with it in spite of having been brought up a Christian. I wasn't uncomfortable enough or committed enough to not say it. But then I've never thought that things like the Pledge that are said by rote have much meaning. In much the same way when I used to go to church reciting the Lord's Prayer had little meaning to me.

Having learned the pledge without the "under God" I have always felt that it affects the flow of the pledge. I think we tend to say "... one nation [pause] under God [pause] with liberty..." mostly because it is an addition which us oldies (although I'm not THAT old) had to insert into what we already knew. If it had been written that way originally it seems to me that the phrase "one nation under God" would have been said without a pause.

Dr. John W. Baer in The Pledge of Allegiance: A Short History notes that "Congress after a campaign by the Knights of Columbus, added the words, 'under God,'." I find that telling. It means that they certainly were thinking of the Christian God, not some generalized god. To me this lends support to the majority court opinion in this case.

I'm surprised that there hasn't been a previous court case (or has there been?) on this matter. Given the other state vs. religion cases that have come up over the last 50 years why has this one not come up until now? Alas, I'm virtually certain that this ruling will be overturned.

Link fixed. --JoeClone, 27-Jun-02.


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Subject: RE: BS: US ...pledge of allegiance ruled out!
From: Peter T.
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 12:58 PM

I wouldn't have thought there was much respect for "Nature or Nature's God" in American history, either.

yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: US ...pledge of allegiance ruled out!
From: Jim Krause
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 12:56 PM

Heaven only knows whose god they're talking about.
Jim


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Subject: RE: BS: US ...pledge of allegiance ruled out!
From: Kim C
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 12:13 PM

From the Declaration of Independence:

"When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation."

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

"And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor."

Now, it seems pretty clear to me that our founding fathers & mothers acknowledged a Supreme Being. Nature's God... Creator... divine Providence... or am I just not reading that right?

That being said, however ------------ it is my belief that institutions supported by public tax dollars should not display items of a religious nature, on behalf of said institution; but said institution cannot prevent individuals within it from expressing religious beliefs on their own behalf. (does that make sense?) Meaning that while public school doesn't observe grace before lunch, the school can't stop an individual student from saying grace if he/she wants to.

I don't need to see the Ten Commandments in the courthouse, because I can read them at home. I don't need a moment of silence at school, because I can do that at home too. And I really believe that the practice of any religion should begin in the home, with the family. I am aware, though, that your mileage may vary.

But here's a couple of interesting things. The Metro-Nashville Courthouse, downtown, has on its entryway, an inscription from the Bible about the walls of Jericho coming down. I guess this is because the original building was torn down, and the current one rebuilt on the same spot. And isn't there in the CIA lobby something about "the truth will set you free"?

I say, just take the "under God" out, and get on with it.


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Subject: RE: BS: US ...pledge of allegiance ruled out!
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 12:05 PM

Isn't it odd that it is only in schools—and, I think, only in elementary schools—that the Pledge of Allegiance is regularly used? Does anyone know of any circumstances where ADULTS are required to say the Pledge of Allegiance? I think it's obvious why not. Adults wouldn't stand for it (literally or figuratively). If they ever tried to make it mandatory for adults, you'd find out quick how many people really believe the Pledge is a good thing. People are so hypocritical in how they treat kids! Kids are forced to put up with a lot of bullshit that adults wouldn't tolerate for themselves, but they will tolerate having done to their kids. And kids are so used to putting up with adults' bullshit, especially in school, that they usually don't protest, even when they know it's bullshit.

I heard some interesting stuff on talk radio this morning. (I don't normally listen to talk radio, but my local public radio station is having its pledge drive.)

The original author of the Pledge was a Christian socialist.

He originally wanted it to read, "...with liberty, equality, and justice for all" but he realized it wouldn't fly that way, so he dropped "equality." (This was before women could vote, when blacks were severely restricted by Jim Crow laws, and when even Catholics and Jews didn't stand a chance of getting elected to public office.)

(Click here for a web page where you can add your name to a petition to put "equality" back in. I'd sign it myself, but I'd feel like a hypocrite. What I'd really prefer is to drop the Pledge altogether.)

Various groups have campaigned to change the Pledge for various reasons. For instance, some prolifers want it to say, "...with liberty and justice for all, born and unborn."

See "The Pledge of Allegiance: A Short History" by Dr. John W. Baer.


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Subject: RE: BS: US ...pledge of allegiance ruled out!
From: Amos
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 11:51 AM

COngress can pass Acts which have the power of law which say really silly things, such as which day will be marked aside for the remembrance of Motherhood, or some such; these are not punitive ("Whatya in for, buddy?" "I fergot my mothuh!") but they are, as the Justive said, normative. Defining the language of the Pledge of Allegiance is such a normative Act. It has the power of law to normalize apractice nationwide. If such an act prescribes a belief usually reserved to religous thought, it has no business in the realm of civic law. No business whatsoever.

Just because a particular group of individuals think something is a grand idea should not set aside the higher principles of social contract in the Constitution which are designed to span generations and centuries, not the pettier timeframes of fads and mass follies.

Let's get back to the basic contract, shall we?

A


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Subject: RE: BS: US ...pledge of allegiance ruled out!
From: Mrrzy
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 11:50 AM

My understanding of the terrorism, gleaned from both my personal history with it and everything that's happened since, is that we are NOT "godless" - we are seen as Christian. We are the Infidel not because we follow no god, but because we follow the wrong prophet, being Christ. Which we don't, but the perception overseas is that Americans are Protestant (and therefore Christian), and to top it all off we're in cahoots with the Jews. But we are NOT seen as a godless country, we are seen as a Christian country, which is against our founding principles. But Bush, and all the GOd Bless America frenzy, are playing right into their hands, making us look more and more Christian every day.

The law here in Virginia includes a moment of silence (which I don't like either) and the Pledge of Allegiance is said by the teacher, but the students do not "have" to participate (yeah, right, like any 5 year old is going to stand up to the teacher). It's like one of the preschools I didn't put my kids in that said they have "voluntary prayer" (which meant the teacher said a Christian grace, but the kids didn't have to say it too - yeah, right, like a TWO-year old is going to stand up to the teacher).

And yes, I'd like to see it off the money too. If this is the first chink in the armor, I'm all for it - no fingers in the dike this time! (Spaw... a straight line for you...)


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Subject: RE: BS: US ...pledge of allegiance ruled out!
From: Peter T.
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 11:49 AM

Given that the US Supreme Court today allowed random drug tests for students involved in extra-curricular activities (what happened to the "unreasonable search" provision?), because the fear of drugs appears to be greater than the fear of interfering with student's freedom, I would say: Stay away from the Supreme Court! They can only make it worse. They will probably make everyone tattoo the flag on their arms so they don't have to pledge allegiance verbally.

yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: US ...pledge of allegiance ruled out!
From: CapriUni
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 11:47 AM

Heh...

I wrote out a longish reply to this thread before coming here, about the history of the pledge, how the Congress added the bit about God (in direct violation of the First Amendment), how choosing not to express a religious belief in public is as much about your religious freedom as choosing to express something, and how nonconformity doesn't have to be outlawed in the courts in order to curtail freedom, especially when social pressure and children are in the mix...

But...

Everyone beat me to it.

I will just say this: Under God is not a vague, universal statement. Particularly the adjective "under": it denotes a specific kind of relationship between the worshipper and a single God.

As a Pantheistic, Polytheistic Agnostic, the most accurate invocation of the Divine I could make to support an oath would be: "with the support of the myriad divinities of Sea, Sky and Earth" (I am not "under" any of them, so simply adding an 's' to God wouldn't express my beliefs). But by the time I'd have finished that, everyone else would be back in their seats. ;-)

Besides, I'm another one of those folks who doesn't like "pledging allegiance" to my country. The word allegiance comes from the days of the fuedal lords, and connotes a vassal's subservience to a lord. I'll fight for my country (and there are more ways to fight than with a gun), and for my fellow citizens, but the loyalty I feel for this republic is not a servile one. Fighting for my country may occasionally mean fighting against it, if I believe our government is taking a wrong turn.


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Subject: RE: BS: US ...pledge of allegiance ruled out!
From: Bill D
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 11:45 AM

Sharon...CNN.com had a link to the full court decision in .PDF format...

here : court ruling


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Subject: RE: BS: US ...pledge of allegiance ruled out!
From: DonD
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 11:40 AM

I'm still waiting for some additional info on the 'law' aspect of the Pledge originally, and what the Eisenhower-signed 'law' said.

I think I'm confused by the whole concept of what a 'law' is in this regard. I had the vague notion that a law said you must do so-and-so or you will be subject to punishment for violating the law, or that you must not do so-and-so or you will be subject to punishment etc.

I also have the notion that the law includes a stipulation of what that punishment will be. 'You does the crime, you does the time!' Fines are spelled out and jail terms, too.

What is the Pledge law???? Is it like double-parking in NY during street-cleaning hours: against the 'law' but everybody does it and it's understood that no tickets will be issued? Or is it like the 'law' (assuming there is one) that describes the flag but allows anyone to display any red, white & blue thing with impunity because no one really cares. Can a kid be sent to the principal's office if he draws a flag with too few or too many stripes and/or stars? And doesn't it get ridiculous?


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Subject: RE: BS: US ...pledge of allegiance ruled out!
From: An Pluiméir Ceolmhar
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 11:35 AM

Next step has to be the removal of the motto "In God we Trust" from the US's other great contribution to world iconography.

It has always amazed me that a country which made such a laudable principle of the separation of Church and State as the US should include this in the design of its currency.

I say that as someone who grew up unquestioningly in what I later realised to be a stifling symbiosis of Church and State in spite of the theoretical separation of the two (1950s Ireland). Retrospectively, the Church (Catholic) has been seen to have been as harmed as the State by the failure to render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.


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Subject: RE: BS: US ...pledge of allegiance ruled out!
From: Haruo
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 11:14 AM

I agree with Kim C. I had more difficulty with the "liberty and justice for all" assertion than with the God part, though both rankled. Wolfgang says "Tolerance is the word in this context. The USA of the late eighteenth century had a lot of it so it seems to me." But if you'd been there and your position was loyalty to the government (i.e. the British, the King etc.) you would have met a bit of hostility, if you were vocal about it you might have even had to move to Canada and had your land confiscated without legal process (which would give you a taste of what the Indians in your area went through a hundred years prior).

I'm trying to recall when the schools hereabouts (Seattle) stopped using the Pledge. I'm pretty sure it was while I was still in grade school. Don't know if they've since gone back to it. This is no longer the "Soviet of Washington" it once was, though in my particular neck of the woods a lot of folks vote Green, which doesn't mean Sinn Fein.

Liland


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Subject: RE: BS: US ...pledge of allegiance ruled out!
From: SharonA
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 10:40 AM

BTW, thanks, artbrooks, for posting the majority and minority opinions!


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Subject: RE: BS: US ...pledge of allegiance ruled out!
From: SharonA
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 10:38 AM

Mrrzy: I was under the impression that Islamic fundamentalists considered the US "godless" because of the US government's insistence on allying itself with the Judeo-Christian "God" instead of with what those fundamentalists consider to be the "true" god, Allah. Am I mistaken?


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Subject: RE: BS: US ...pledge of allegiance ruled out!
From: Mrrzy
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 10:27 AM

I mader it very clear to my twins when they started public school that not only did they not have to recite that pledge, that I would strongly prefer that they not. We went through it line by line - that we don't pledge allegiance to the flag in the first place, nor do we even pledge it to the nation for which it stands (that's my Quaker ancestry speaking there) - we will have allegiance as long as it is warrented, but we don't make promises we can't keep. That it IS one nation (albeit many peoples), but that it certainly is NOT under any god or other; that it should be indivisible (wouldn't that be nice?), and that one of its founding principles is liberty and justice for all (although the abstract is not the concrete). But its TRUE and MAIN founding principle as far as I'm concerned is freedom of, and from, religion, so the Under God part has no place in that pledge.

I didn't know that it was added in the 50's (McCarthy-ism?), but I do remember coming to the states in 5th grade and not knowing the words (shock!).

The terrorists don't claim this is a godless nation, they claim it is Christian and Jewish. If it WERE godless, as it was formed, we'd have a lot less trouble with the Islamic fundamentalists.


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Subject: RE: BS: US ...pledge of allegiance ruled out!
From: artbrooks
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 10:20 AM

Here are the majority and minority opinions, as reported by CNN:

"The recitation that ours is a nation 'under God' is not a mere acknowledgment that many Americans believe in a deity. Nor is it merely descriptive of the undeniable historical significance of religion in the founding of the Republic. Rather, the phrase 'one nation under God' in the context of the Pledge is normative. To recite the Pledge is not to describe the United States; instead, it is to swear allegiance to the values for which the flag stands: unity, indivisibility, liberty, justice, and -- since 1954 -- monotheism. The text of the official Pledge, codified in federal law, impermissibly takes a position with respect to the purely religious question of the existence and identity of God. A profession that we are a nation 'under God' is identical, for Establishment Clause purposes, to a profession that we are a nation 'under Jesus,' a nation 'under Vishnu,' a nation 'under Zeus,' or a nation 'under no god,' because none of these professions can be neutral with respect to religion."
-- Judge Alfred T. Goodwin, majority opinion for himself and Judge Stephen Reinhardt

"[L]egal world abstractions and ruminations aside, when all is said and done, the danger that 'under God' in our Pledge of Allegiance will tend to bring about a theocracy or suppress somebody's beliefs is so minuscule as to be de minimis. The danger that phrase presents to our First Amendment freedoms is picayune at most... upon Newdow's theory of our Constitution, accepted by my colleagues today, we will soon find ourselves prohibited from using our album of patriotic songs in many public settings. 'God Bless America' and 'America The Beautiful' will be gone for sure, and while use of the first and second stanzas of the 'Star Spangled Banner' will still be permissible, we will be precluded from s traying into the third. And currency beware! Judges can accept those results if they limit themselves to elements and tests, while failing to look at the good sense and principles that animated those tests in the first place."
-- Judge Ferdinand F. Fernandez, dissenting opinion


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Subject: RE: BS: US ...pledge of allegiance ruled out!
From: SharonA
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 10:13 AM

One more link: Here's a history of the Pledge of Allegiance which seems to explain why Eisenhower was moved to sign into law the 1954 bill adding "under God" to the pledge: http://www.ilsr.org/columns/2002/050102.html

"...In 1953 the Knights of Columbus launched a massive letter-writing campaign to add the words "under God". Then on February 7, 1954 the Reverend George M. Docherty, pastor of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington D.C. delivered a sermon on the subject. With President Eisenhower sitting in the front pew the Reverend declared, 'Apart from the mention of the phrase 'the United States of America" it could be the pledge of any republic. I could hear little Muscovites repeat a similar pledge to their hammer-and-sickle flag in Moscow. Russia is also a republic that claims to have overthrown the tyranny of kingship. Russia also claims to be indivisible.' Three days later a bill was introduced in Congress to add the words 'under God'. [John W.] Baer [author of 'The Pledge of Allegiance: A Centennial History, 1892-1992'] recalls that 'Congressmen said Communists would feel very uncomfortable saying the pledge, because they were atheists'. On Flag Day, June 14th Eisenhower signed the bill into law."

So the President and Congress were quick to react to the insinuation that the US could not be distinguished from its enemies... sounds a lot like the present post-9/11 climate! No wonder the current President and Congress were so quick to react to the Federal Appeals Court ruling yesterday – they can't have people thinking there's any credence to the terrorists' claims that the US is a godless nation!!!


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Subject: RE: BS: US ...pledge of allegiance ruled out!
From: Peter T.
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 10:09 AM

As a Canadian who spent his late elementary and junior high school days in the U.S. (and I enjoyed it!), I used to get into all kinds of trouble not saying the Pledge. I used to sit at my desk, which really irked people. Even then I thought it was propagandistic -- but then American schools are saturated in mindless American propaganda. Getting beaten up was typical childhood fascism, known the world over, the different get beaten up.

Now I am a Buddhist, I would be in even bigger trouble. The worst thing about the U.S. is stupid patriotism like the Pledge of Allegiance; the best thing is that they fight about things like the Pledge of Allegiance like cats and dogs. What is the funniest part of it of course is that the Constitution and the Founding Fathers are the American Bible and Patriarch and Ten Commandments rolled into one, they are worshipped like Gospel Truth, and yet there is this irritating Enlightenment stuff about religious freedom in it. It really does make one laugh at the historical ironies.

I personally wish that they would stop pledging allegiance to the market, and to the Corporations for which they seem to stand almost anything, but maybe Worldcom and Enron will get them started. I doubt it.

There was an amusing skit a friend of mine sent me from a progressive school in the U.S., which got the student into all kinds of trouble. It began: "This moment of non-denominational silence is brought to you by Pepsi-Cola."

yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: US ...pledge of allegiance ruled out!
From: SharonA
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 09:53 AM

Still looking for a page with the US Federal Appeals Court ruling reprinted on it, though.

My own personal feeling about the ruling mirrors Bill D's: It's about time! The 1954 addendum to the pledge should never have been made, even if the present Senate did pass a resolution yesterday claiming that Congress had believed it was acting constitutionally at the time (see this Voice of America article: http://www.voanews.com/article.cfm?objectID=9103511D-F899-4B37-894F5DD6D04320BD&title=Congress%20Opposes%20Court%20Decision%20on%20Pledge%20of%20Allegiance&catOID=45C9C78F-88AD-11D4-A57200A0CC5EE46C).

This reminds me of the ongoing controversy surrounding some local court buildings (local to the Philadelphia PA area) that display the Ten Commandments and other passages from the Bible on plaques outside the buildings. In one case, the local court ruled that the plaque must be taken down (but also ruled that the plaque must be covered while the appeals process goes forward, just in case the original ruling is overturned and the plaque can stay – the intention is to minimize the damage to the outer wall that might result from removing the plaque and then replacing it and then removing, etc.) (by the way, the cover has already been stolen by some person or group who disagrees with the ruling, and has had to be replaced with another cover!). The objection to the Biblical passages is that they convey the message – intentionally or unintentionally – that the judges in the courtrooms will be harsher, in their rulings, toward people who are not of a Judeo-Christian faith.

In the case of the Pledge of Allegiance, it certainly does seem that, although the Federal Appeals Court is not showing a prejudice against "non-believers", other branches of the US government and even other courts of the US justice system are not only showing that prejudice right now but flaunting it.


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Subject: RE: BS: US ...pledge of allegiance ruled out!
From: Kim C
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 09:53 AM

When I was in high school, in 1984, I would stand, but I wouldn't say the pledge, because I didn't believe there was any such thing as liberty and justice for all.

In a perfect country, there would be. And it's a nice ideal, but we don't have it, even though I think we give it as good a try as we can with what we have to work with.

But anyway, I wouldn't say the pledge, and this never got me in trouble with anyone except one or two classmates who called me a communist.

Personally, it seems pretty easy to me. If "under God" wasn't originally part of the pledge, then let's just take it back out. Each person can decide individually if they want to be "under God" or not.

But perhaps I oversimplify...


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Subject: RE: BS: US ...pledge of allegiance ruled out!
From: sian, west wales
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 09:48 AM

I remember a VERY brief time when I was in Grade 7 or 8 - so that would be, ummm (times 6, carry the 2 subtract 3) about 1963/64? when they tried to introduce a Pledge of Allegiance in my school in Ontario. I would have thought that it was a province-wide idea but I suppose it could have been local given the dingbat we had for principal. It lasted about one term (hand-over-heart and everything) then died a death. Parents, teachers and kids all agreed it was downright dippy.

Any other Ontarians remember this?

sian


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Subject: RE: BS: US ...pledge of allegiance ruled out!
From: Little Hawk
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 09:44 AM

Good answer, Bill D, well thought out and well expressed. I understand you perfectly.

I do have a definition of "God" which is so unconventionally wide that I doubt there's anyone out there who doesn't at least partially believe in what I call "God"...but you're quite right that we give meaning to our lives. Exactly.

The capacity which we have to do just that is one of the attributes of what I call "God". In other words...self-awareness, consciousness, awareness of other things, the ability to think and draw comparisons, the ability to make decisions and act upon them. All those are attributes of the overall intelligent presence which I call "God".

We can indeed justify morality by logic. Undoubtedly. I also regard logic as an attribute of what I call "God".

I don't go to church, although I've visited various churches from time to time, just to see what they were up to. I could similarly say that I've visited any number of secular situations. One does not have to belong to any religion to believe in God as I conceive of God.

I think your whole explanation was very rational and very well put. It sums up precisely how I felt about life when I was a bit younger...I later came to have some "spiritual" beliefs, but they do not derive from any particular religion...just from the whole avenue of life itself.

Back to the "indivisible" issue. Any nation is potentially divisible, and we all know it...just as any marriage is. Therefore, to state that one's nation is indivisible is an act of wishfull thinking...or bravado. It's the same as getting married and publicly declaring: "till death do us part". That doesn't work out half the time either these days.

Be assured, the USA will not last forever...no other political entity ever has...and one day something else will take its place.

If in the meantime people want to say it's "indivisible" to make themselves feel better, well, go ahead then and say it. Saying it won't necessarily make it so.

- LH


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Subject: RE: BS: US ...pledge of allegiance ruled out!
From: irishajo
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 09:44 AM

I had to say it when I was in elementary school (early 80's) For me it was just another part of the day. Like saying prayers at bedtime. It was something adults said you should do, so you did it. There were a few instances of kids not wanting to join in for whatever reason, and they were always disciplined and eventually were forced to say it. I remember one instance of a girl being strongly verbally abused by a teacher for refusing to say it. I was walking by in the hallway as it happened - it was quite disturbing.

At any rate, I think leading kids in the pledge is sort of silly. I don't think most of them really know what they're saying, anyway. I think religious and non-religious people alike should applaud this decision. As I've heard said, religion shouldn't need the government to do its work.


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Subject: RE: BS: US ...pledge of allegiance ruled out!
From: RichM
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 09:41 AM

No problem with removing references to God in a public school child's recitation, is there? At last recall, the American constitution explicitly states that church and state shall be separate.
Pray to God in your church!
...That's what I do.

Rich


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Subject: RE: BS: US ...pledge of allegiance ruled out!
From: MMario
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 09:29 AM

while I was growing up it was always made clear that

a) one could refrain from saying "under God" if there religious or ethical conflicts with the phrase.

b) children were allowed to not say the pledge at all - though they were asked to stand in silence in respect to others who were saying the pledge.

and yes, there were several members of my class who chose one or the other option.


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Subject: RE: BS: US ...pledge of allegiance ruled out!
From: SharonA
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 09:26 AM

Aha! Here's an article with a bit of detail about the present court case originating in Sacramento, CA: http://www.bayarea.com/mld/mercurynews/3552271.htm

I'll reprint part of it below, in case it disappears from the Mercury News website:

Posted on Wed, Jun. 26, 2002
Atheist represented self, drew firestorm with lawsuit over pledge By Howard Mintz, Mercury News

....An emergency room doctor, Newdow, 49, is the man behind the stunning decision from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that it violates the separation of church and state to recite the pledge of allegiance in public schools because the pledge contains the words ``under God.''

Two years ago, he filed a lawsuit in federal court in Sacramento, challenging the use of the pledge in public schools on behalf of his daughter, who was entering first grade in the Elk Grove Unified School District. Newdow is an atheist who said the pledge is offensive to him and should be banned from public schools as unconstitutional.

At the time, nobody paid attention, which is not surprising. Newdow was representing himself in a case against the school district's lawyers and the U.S. Justice Department. He couldn't get a lawyer to take the case. The American Civil Liberties Union turned him down.

The suit was going nowhere. On Wednesday, all that changed.

Newdow has a law degree but has never practiced law and admits he was in uncharted territory when he handled the case himself, including arguing before three federal judges last year against a team of trained lawyers. He may get help now in light of Wednesday's ruling, which shook the legal and political world.

Newdow's daughter, now 8, is finishing second grade, but he said he wants to ``leave her out'' of the firestorm over the case. Newdow, however, is already shrugging off the outcry over the ruling and its implications for the pledge.

``I don't see an issue,'' he said. ``The law is the law.''


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Subject: RE: BS: US ...pledge of allegiance ruled out!
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 09:21 AM

"The Constitution of the United States was designed for a moral and religious people and is inadequate for the government of any other kind." - John Adams


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Subject: RE: BS: US ...pledge of allegiance ruled out!
From: SharonA
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 09:19 AM

Jon G. Bartlett asks, "a question for US residents: has there ever been any court case of a kid refusing?"

As I understand it, that's what this court case is about. On the TV news last night, they showed a brief video-clip and sound-bite of the California man, an atheist, who made the appeal to the court on behalf of his daughter because he objected to the pressure she was put under to recite the pledge at school. I'm not clear on whether this pressure was brought upon her by the school itself or whether it was social pressure from her peers. According to this article – http://www.itechnology.co.za/index.php?click_id=3&art_id=ct20020627112646266P432569&set_id=1 – "The judges of the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said the phrase "one nation under God" in the pledge is a government endorsement of religion forbidden by the US constitution.... 'It is a profession of religious belief, namely monotheism,' wrote Judge Alfred Goodwin on behalf of a three-judge panel." Again, on the TV news, it was explained in a sound-bite that the "monotheism" aspect pertains whether one is talking about God, Allah or even Zeus.

I'm still trying to find a web-page with the complete ruling itself on it, or even details of the court case; if anyone can find such and post links, I'd be grateful.

In the meantime, here's a page that briefly describes a couple of court decisions of the past, concerning the pledge and the "right not to speak": http://www.mclu.org/nottospeak.htm


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Subject: RE: BS: US ...pledge of allegiance ruled out!
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 06:31 AM

I kind of liked the Pledge of Allegiance when I was briefly in school in the US, though I found it a little silly, standing up there reciting it with my hand on my heart!

What I liked was the idea of "one nation" - that a group of different nationalities and races could come together to make a single nation working to help each other.

But this court case strikes me as really silly. What does it matter? It's like the EU legislating that people shouldn't be allowed to buy vitamins over the "recommended daily dose" without a doctor's prescription, a stupid law that's currently going to turn half the citizens of the EU into criminals importing illegal drugs over the internet, and make fortunes for quack websites.


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Subject: RE: BS: US ...pledge of allegiance ruled out!
From: Hrothgar
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 06:20 AM

Gee, I'm glad I'm not a Yank.


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Subject: RE: BS: US ...pledge of allegiance ruled out!
From: Wolfgang
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 04:07 AM

There are a couple of nations worldwide who try to impose the belief of the majority as rules to obey for all. If I look at those nations the USA are not in good company. In Germany, if somebody is sworn into office he or she is free to add a formula that expresses his or her faith. Everybody as (s)he wishes.

The majority argument by Doug is a red herring. Some things have to be decided by majority (or variants of that rule) for there can only be one single decision (who is president, for instance). Instances in which there has to be only one possible decision are rare, however.

Many things in our lives don't need majority rules and can and should be left to the individual (which hand to use for eating, whether women drive a car or not, which dish is admissible on Fridays, how a house has to be decorated on certain days, which is the correct way to slaughter an animal). All these examples are rules in one religion or the other, but I'd hate to live in a country which would prescribe what the majority does follow for all others too.

Tolerance is the word in this context. The USA of the late eighteenth century had a lot of it so it seems to me.

Wolfgang


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