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Posts tagged ‘First Amendment’


under God or the Republic?

Last night during the discussion with Richard Dreyfuss, he asked the entire audience stand up.  Then he asked us to place our right hand on our heart.  Then we said the pledge of allegiance: 

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.

And then he asked us to read it again, but follow him and he left out “under God.”

We intoned:

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.

The first Pledge above is what is used today.  The words “under God” were added by Congress, in 1954.

Mr. Dreyfuss pointed out that the pledge is not a prayer, though it sounds as such.  The pledge allows those of us who are loyal to this country, to articulate our allegiance to the flag and to the Republic for which it stands because we are one nation, we won’t be divided in that regard, and the core of America is to provide the due process of liberty and justice for all.

Adding “under God” says we all stand “under” God; but not all do.  There are other religions who do not believe in our God.  There are Agnostics and Atheists who do not place themselves in allegiance with God, but with the US and the Republic for which it stands.

In fact, the 1st Amendment provides for freedom of religion and the addition of “under God” is, in reality, unconstitutional.  The same holds true for “In God we Trust” in written all over our money.

That is my view.

Hah!  Politics AND religion in one post…. I’m just asking for trouble!


mencken on my mind

I had Mencken on my mind today.  I read him today until my eyes stung.

Although I have not read very many of Henry Louis Mencken‘s books, essays or articles, I have read enough to appreciate his point of view.

He was a passionate enthusiast of the First Amendment, and rightfully so.  He spent a good part of his life writing for the Baltimore Sun newspaper.

He was and still is known as “a man of ideas,” since he frequently espoused ideas and ideals that could be considered controversial.

I found the following quote from Mencken especially interesting.  At first I looked at these words with the Casey Anthony trial in mind, since the Burden of Proof, liberty, and law is, seemingly, a part of his argument.

But Mencken is not referring to criminality.  What is he referring to here?  Is it prejudice, honesty and truth, or something else?

Writer H.L. Mencken. Photo credit:

I believe in liberty. And when I say liberty, I mean the thing in its widest imaginable sense — liberty up to the extreme limits of the feasible and tolerable.  I am against forbidding anybody to do anything, or say anything, or think anything so long as it is at all possible to imagine a habitable world in which he would be free to do, say, and think it. The burden of proof, as I see it, is always upon the policeman, which is to say, upon the lawmaker, the theologian, the right-thinker. He must prove his case doubly, triply, quadruply, and then he must start all over and prove it again. The eye through which I view him is watery and jaundiced. He is the enemy of everything I admire and respect in this world — of everything that makes it various and amusing and charming. He impedes every honest search for the truth. He stands against every sort of good-will and common decency. I am against him until the last galoot’s ashore.
H.L Mencken, 1923

Do you think Mencken hated law, law enforcement, clergy, or conservatism when you read this quote?  I’d love to hear what you think.

So, that’s it for me tonight.  I will write more about Mencken another day.  As for today, it’s “rest-up” day, which means reading, napping and a lot of thinking.


there’s a thing called the first amendment…

The fact that the 48 Hours Mystery show, titled “Only Casey Knows,” is going to air is absolutely maddening.  But, there is not a thing that anyone can do about it, not even Judge Belvin Perry.   The reason, of course, is a result of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.  But, I’m still mad at CBS.

We know about the protections of the First Amendment as it relates to freedom of speech and freedom of the press.  But that does not stop my anger and my feeling that airing this show is a dirty low-down stunt, and  I am mad as hell at CBS.

I carry a little copy of the Constitution with me in my purse and am well aware of the First Amendment, as I am sure you are, too.  But, I’m still mad at CBS.

We know that the defense has every right to speak to whomever they wish, whenever they wish when no gag-order is imposed by a court.  But, is it right? Not in my opinion.  Is it ethical?  Not in my opinion.  Does it taint potential jurors?  Yes, in my opinion.  Is it illegal?  No, not under the Constitution of the United States of America.  But, I’m still mad at CBS.

During today’s hearing a very interesting request came out of the mouth of Jose Baez to the court.  He would like to turn off the cameras  in the courtroom.  Mr. Baez, like us, doesn’t like the freedom of the press either – unless it’s convenient.   His request is no different than ours.  We want to stop 48 Hours, and Mr. Baez wants to stop the cameras from rolling in the court.  Judge Perry told Mr. Baez that the Florida Supreme Court would not agree.  Perry said if he turned the cameras off, they’d be back on in 48 hours.

48 Hours?  Interesting. I have 48 reasons why I’m still mad at CBS.

Below are the words of the First Amendment of the Constitution:

Amendment One:  Freedom of religion, speech, and the press; rights of assembly and petition.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

There it is – that thing called the First Amendment which protects Mr. Baez, and Mason, and you and me when we want to express our opinions. Where it not for the First Amendment, I would not be able to blog as I do.  Neither would you. And, I am mad at CBS, but I sure cherish my rights.

What are some of the rights ripped out from under people in a Communist state?

  • People may not write or publish as they please – writers and Bloggers are thrown in jail.
  • People may not practice the religion of their choice;
  • The press is controlled by the Government;
  • People cannot assemble in protest in countries wrapped in a communist flag, but
  • I’m mad as hell at CBS.

I like my First Amendment Rights!  I am thankful for the First Amendment, but I am angry over how wrong it seems to air a show like 48 Hours before the system of justice has a chance to work.

Regardless, I am glad I live in a country where such a program can air.

And, you know what?  This is an object lesson many of us can learn from.


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