Thursday, August 04, 2005

The Pledge of Allegiance

Can you pledge your allegiance to god and to the state? Are the two compatible?

According to an evangelical Christian from Virginia, Edward R. Myers, the answer is no. He has filed suit against the federal government over the pledge of allegiance, claiming that the pledge unconstitutionally mingles religion and state and thereby dilutes his religion. The case is currently pending before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and could make its way to the Supreme Court.

You may remember that the Supreme Court recently punted on this issue, dismissing the same case brought by Michael Newdow -- an avowed atheist -- on the ground that he did not have custody of his daughter (the individual allegedly harmed by the requirement). What a great way to dodge that bullet.

Now that bullet is being carried by Myers, who is on a mission from god to the Supreme Court. "To me, it's heresy. Government is about keeping civil order. Church is about loving and worshiping God. You don't mix . . . loving God because of free choice with something that's about duty and where you were born."

This time, the justices will not have the same technicality and, more importantly, they will be hearing from an evangelical Christian who has been receiving increased support from his community. It will be interesting to see if this is one of the cases that soon-to-be-Justice Roberts will confront and how he will handle such a thorny issue.

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