You canít keep a good atheist down. Michael Newdow, the Cindy Sheehan of the heretic crowd, is back. He persuaded a liberal judge in California to rule last week that the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional, forcing several Sacramento-area schools to ban the Pledge.
Newdow, youíll recall, is the lawyer/medical doctor/intellectual moron who wants the words "One nation under God" stricken from the Pledge. He also wants "In God We Trust" rubbed off U.S. currency and heís still steamed that President Bush recited the words "so help me God" when he took the oath to uphold the Constitution during his inauguration in January.
Newdow took his unholy crusade against the Pledge all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court last year, but the case was tossed out on a technicality. The justices never took up the merits of the case, leaving the matter for a future court to decide. It appears this case will be one of the first major decisions forced on the high court after John Roberts is sworn in as chief justice.
In a Sept. 14 ruling, activist Judge Lawrence Karlton agreed with Newdow that the Pledgeís reference to God violates the rights of children in three school districts to be "free from a coercive requirement to affirm God." That same decision was reached earlier by another crew of Left Coast judges who make up the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which in 2002 agreed with Newdow that the Pledge is unconstitutional when recited in public schools.
The battle over church-state issues is at the heart of the cultural war that has divided this nation, pitting a motley crew of atheists, liberal extremists and card-carrying members of the American Civil Liberties Union against the rest of America.
Polls show that 90 percent of Americans believe in God. Two-thirds of Americans say they are Christians. The current wording of the Pledge of Allegiance has been recited by American school children since 1954 and there has never been a single case of a child irreparably harmed by pledging allegiance to "One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
But militant atheists like Newdow will stop at nothing short of removing all semblance of faith from public life in America. With the ACLU by his side, Newdow wants to turn the U.S. into a godless, totalitarian state where peopleís lives are controlled by a socialist politburo ó not guided by a higher authority. It was tried in the Soviet Union for 60 years and we all know how well that worked out.
The Pledge of Allegiance is not a prayer. It is not a religious oath. It is a statement of loyalty to the United States of America by its youngest citizens. It is a daily declaration of gratitude for the privilege of living in the greatest nation the world has ever known.
Newdow and his secular rabble use the "faith card" much like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson use the "race card" to enflame their followers and obscure real issues. The Pledge is not about religion. And what if it was? Look whatís happened to our education system since the Supreme Court banned school prayer in 1962.
The Founding Fathers guaranteed us freedom of religion not freedom from religion.
The liberal mantra of "separation of church and state" was not the intent of the framers of the Constitution or the leaders of the states that ratified the Bill of Rights. The church-state divide is part of a campaign of deception perpetrated by left-wing radicals who hide behind groups like the ACLU and People for the American Way.
There is nothing in the U.S. Constitution to suggest that a wall should exist between church and state. The First Amendment, adopted as part of the Bill of Rights in 1791, prohibits Congress from passing laws "respecting an establishment of religion" and forbidding laws "prohibiting the free exercise thereof." In other words, the First Amendment says that Congress shall not recognize or favor a particular religion. It does not say the United States should be a godless nation.
The left-wing stormtroopers of the ACLU are forcing the removal of faith-based symbols from the public square every day. Try finding the cross, the Star of David, a nativity scene or a menorah ó anything that symbolizes the Judeo-Christian heritage of this nation ó on public display.
Meanwhile, the radical left pushes its secular agenda down our throats, forcing us to accept witchcraft, pornography and all sorts of perversion involving children as "constitutionally protected freedom of expression."
Students face discipline in our public schools for wearing crosses or uttering the word "God" in front of a classmate or a teacher. At the same time, children are forced to celebrate pagan holidays and study "Wican folklore" as part of their social studiesí curriculum.
Where in the Constitution does it say that the minority has a right to impose its wishes on the majority? When did the majority of Americans allow a fringe group of atheists, activist judges, media elite and radical college professors to hijack the moral compass of this nation?
Tony Phyrillas is a leading conservative political columnist and blogger based in Pennsylvania. He is a veteran journalist with 25 years experience as a reporter, editor and columnist for several newspapers. Phyrillas received recognition for column writing in 2010 from the Associated Press Managing Editors, in 2007 from Suburban Newspapers of America and in 2006 from the Society of Professional Journalists, Keystone Chapter. A graduate of Penn State University, Phyrillas is the city editor and political columnist for The Mercury, a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning daily newspaper in Pottstown, Pa. In addition to The Mercury website (www.pottsmerc.com), his columns are featured on more than a dozen political websites and blogs. Phyrillas is a frequent guest (and occasional host) on talk radio and has been a panelist on the "Journalists Roundtable" public affairs TV program on the Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN). Phyrillas was named one of the '10 Leading Greek-American Bloggers in the World' in 2007 by Odyssey: The World of Greece magazine. BlogNetNews.com ranked Phyrillas the Most Influential Political Blogger in Pennsylvania for three consecutive years (2007-2010). You can follow Phyrillas on Twitter @TonyPhyrillas