Sunday, February 08, 2015

New Jersey student wins court case to keep 'under God' in Pledge of Allegiance

The interesting thing is that those seeking to remove God from the US do it without thinking of the peril to free speech and all other "God given" rights enumerated in the Constitution.

If there is no God, the government is free to limit any and all rights because now they are granted by the government.  The strong historical association between atheism and the authoritarianism of Leftists (e.g. the Soviet Union) is no accident. Leftists want to play God

Teen fighting for right to recite 'under God' in Pledge
A New Jersey high school senior has won her case to keep "one nation under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance, defeating atheist attacks that sought to strike the language from the pledge.

Samantha Jones, a senior at Highland Regional High School, declared victory Friday in protecting what she has described as the right of her fellow students to continue reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in its entirety. After hearing the teen and her family's case, a state judge dismiss the latest efforts by the American Humanist Association to remove "under God" from the Pledge.

The legal battle first began when an unnamed New Jersey family from Monmouth County, identified in court papers as John and Jane Doe and their child, sued the Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District in February 2014, alleging the phrase "under God" in the pledge is discriminatory. The case was filed by the American Humanist Association, which claimed the recitation of the pledge violates Article 1 of the state's constitution.

Jones, who was attending another school, fought back, telling Fox News last November that the phrase "acknowledges that our rights don’t come from the government but from a higher power, so they can’t take away the rights."

She described America as a country of many beliefs and claimed all of those beliefs – including those of atheists – are protected by "one nation under God."

"I don’t think that it’s as much about religion as it is about our rights. Everyone has the right to remain silent but they don’t have the right to silence everybody else," she told Fox News.

After the school district and Jones won their case, she said in a statement released Friday that "I'm so grateful the court decided that kids like me shouldn't be silenced just because some people object to timeless American values."

"Ever since I was little, I've recited the Pledge of Allegiance because it sums up the values that make our country great. The phrase 'under God' protects all Americans-including atheists-because it reminds the government that it can't take away basic human rights because it didn't create them," she said.

Jones and her family were represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. Historic defenders of the Pledge like the Knights of Columbus, the world's largest Catholic fraternal organization, and the American Legion also intervened in the case.

"The message today is loud and clear: "God" is not a dirty word," Eric Rassbach, Deputy General Counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, also said in a statement Friday. "The Pledge of Allegiance isn't a prayer, and reciting it doesn't magically create an official state religion."

"The Pledge-in the tradition of Washington's Farewell Address or Lincoln's Gettysburg Address-is not a prayer to God, but a statement about who we are as a nation. Dissenters have every right to sit out the Pledge, but they can't silence everyone else," Rassbach said.

David Niose, an attorney for the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center, had argued that public schools should not "engage in an exercise that tells students that patriotism is tied to a belief in God."

"Such a daily exercise portrays atheist and humanist children as second-class citizens, and certainly contributes to anti-atheist prejudices," Niose claimed.

The Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District doesn't require that students say the Pledge of Allegiance. The Supreme Court ruled in 1943 that school children could not be forced to recite the pledge.

State Superior Court Judge David Bauman said during arguments in November that there wasn't any evidence the student in question had been "bullied, ostracized or in any way mistreated." But Bauman also noted during his questioning of district attorney David Rubin that district policy requires parents whose children don't say the pledge to furnish an explanation in writing.

At the time, Rubin said he wasn't aware of any cases in which parents had refused to supply an explanation and didn't know what the ramifications would be if they didn't. He accused the plaintiffs of filing a lawsuit claiming the pledge violates laws against the official establishment of religion "masquerading as an equal protection case."

School district officials had claimed they're simply following a state law requiring schools to have a daily recitation of the pledge. In a court filing, the district wrote that the plaintiffs can't claim a violation of equal protection laws because all students are treated equally by not having to recite the pledge.


Obama's Student-Debt Giveaway Cost $22 Billion

Last year, Barack Obama broadened the “Pay As You Earn” student-debt federal giveaway. As usual, it was a wealth-transfer scheme – giving taxpayer money away to the coveted votes of young people.

Even Obama’s buddies at Politico are astounded at the cost of his “generosity.” Michael Grunwald reports, “In obscure data tables buried deep in its 2016 budget proposal, the Obama administration revealed this week that its student loan program had a $21.8 billion shortfall last year, apparently the largest ever recorded for any government credit program.”

Worse, “because of a quirk in the budget process for credit programs, the [Education] department can add the $21.8 billion to the deficit automatically, without seeking appropriations or even approval from Congress.”

Like every other program Obama calls for, he wants to “pay for it” by taking money from upper-bracket taxpayers. “This should be a no-brainer,” he said last summer. “It would be scandalous if we allowed those kinds of tax loopholes for the very, very fortunate to survive while students are having trouble just getting started in their lives.”

In other words, it’s his money to dispense with as he pleases. The real scandal is that Obama has dumped an $8 trillion truckload of new debt onto the backs of our children and grandchildren – all while claiming a mantle of fiscal responsibility. Our national debt now stands at an astounding $18.1 trillion. That’s more than $145,000 per American household. And he’s not done yet.


Queering Agriculture? On campus, theory is as high as an elephant’s eye

Another day in academia, another twist in the bizarre world of identity studies. The Center for the Study of Sexual Culture at the University of California, Berkeley, is presenting a talk next week on “Queering Agriculture,” dedicated to the proposition that “it is absolutely crucial queer and transgender studies begin to deal more seriously with the subject of agriculture.”

Queer theory has taken over student life on many campuses. Now that gay identity has been thoroughly institutionalized, declaring oneself “trans*,” “genderqueer,” “pangender,” or any of the other rapidly multiplying alternative sexes has become the last frontier of self-engrossed agitation available to students. But apart from the odoriferous leavings of female ginko trees, the “problem” of gender and plants did not seem to be a pressing one, making the application of queer theory to agriculture an innovation that even the most dogged observers of identity studies might not have seen coming. The talk’s presenter, a Ph.D. candidate in American studies at the University of Maryland, will allegedly show that “the growing popularity of sustainable food is laden with anthroheterocentric assumptions of the ‘good life’ coupled with idealized images and ideas of the American farm, and gender, radicalized and normative standards of health, family, and nation.”

Is it possible that beneath this stale rhetoric of High Theory lies a healthy skepticism toward the hypocrisies of modern environmentalism? Perhaps, but it is as likely that the lecture will simply impose the jargon of queer studies onto a pseudo-Marxist critique of agriculture and a debunking caricature of the traditional family. Presenter Bailey Kier is a typical product of the modern-day humanities department: he (if that is an acceptable term) has spent so much time researching “queer ecologies” that he appears to have largely missed out on grammar and style. The lecture description is pervaded by such infelicities of language as “the manipulation of reproduction and sexuality are a foundation of agriculture.” No one at the Center for the Study of Sexual Culture noticed these errors, either, because immersion in High Theory has crowded out exposure to the normal workings of the English language.

“Queering Agriculture” looks rigorously empirical, however, compared with other lectures sponsored by the Center for the Study of Sexual Culture. Next month, an assistant professor of women’s and gender studies at Rutgers University will be presenting on “Race, Sexuality and Affective Heredity before the Gene.” The prospectus explains:

Theorizing “impressibility” as a nineteenth-century keyword linking race and sexuality, the talk explores how scientists, reformers, and writers alike saw themselves as working in concert with a neurobiological substrate that they conceived of as, in its ideal form, fluid, malleable, and forever in dynamic exchange with surrounding bodies, objects, and forces. . . . The talk’s investigation of the pre-determinist materiality of the body provides an important perspective on the biopolitics of affect and the stakes of feminist materialisms.
People outside the academy still do not grasp that such discourse doesn’t represent some eccentric backwater within the university—it lies at the very core of today’s humanities. It’s the serious, selfless study of human creation that is now at the margins, fighting for survival. And the identity-studies worldview doesn’t stay put.

New York’s leftist mayor, the supremely self-confident Bill de Blasio, has of late been promoting his agenda for eradicating economic inequality—a mission he believes to be fully in line with his powers as mayor. Compared with such academic irrelevancies as “feminist materialisms,” de Blasio’s predictable list of income-redistributing and market–manipulating measures seems almost refreshingly down-to-earth. But in fact, de Blasio’s political world is intimately related to the academic hothouse. His ongoing argument that the police are the greatest threat facing young black males today is of a piece with academic racial victimology; it’s a virtual certainty that his administration is rife with gender-studies and critical-race theory graduates.

The current political debate about how to make college more affordable proceeds in blind ignorance of the actual content of college courses. University presidents are expert at presenting a reassuring, normal face to the outside world, pretending that their institutions are all about practical knowledge creation and the elevation of students’ future earnings (the latter function an improper goal for the university in any case). What needs to be understood is that the people running the humanities today are no longer the guardians of our culture, but its nemesis.


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