Time for a little rebellion
7/1/2002 12:00:00 AM - Pat Buchanan
"I hold it, that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good
thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical."
So Jefferson wrote to fellow Virginian James Madison in the year Madison
authored his country's Constitution.
It's past time for "a little rebellion" against federal jurists
who are perverting that Constitution to make themselves petty dictators.
On June 26, a panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in
San Francisco declared, 2 to 1, that the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of
the United States is unconstitutional, as it contains the words: "under
God." When the decision becomes final, the pledge will be forbidden in every
public school in Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana,
Nevada, Oregon and Washington.
That phrase, "under God," was put into the pledge in 1954 by an
act of Congress and Dwight Eisenhower. It has been recited by millions of
children. Yet the court now says that it violates the First Amendment, which
reads, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,
or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ..."
What religion did Congress establish with the words "under
God"? Catholicism? Methodism? The judges do not say. They only say that
since "under God" is not neutral about religion, it violates separation of
church and state.
Michael A. Newdow went to the court to prevent his second-grade
daughter from having to recite the pledge. But since the Supreme Court ruled
in 1942 that no one could be required to recite the pledge, this sounds
bogus. Newdow's daughter could have remained silent.
But for this Sacramento atheist, silence is not enough. Since he
is offended by "under God," no schoolchildren are to be permitted to recite
the words. That was his demand. And two U.S. judges agreed that to permit
the pledge is to confront his daughter "with an unacceptable choice between
participating and protesting."
Thus, because one child is troubled by having to decide to stay
silent or say the words "under God," no schoolchild in America can say the
pledge of allegiance to the flag of their country.
Not having met Newdow, let me yet say that what he did to his
daughter -- exploiting this little girl to parade his anti-God bigotry -- is
revolting. She will suffer more from the taunts and insult of playmates than
she would ever have by saying the pledge or remaining silent.
America is the freest country in the world. It provides for
oddballs like Newdow by declaring they are not to be required to recite any
pledge or prayer. But for bigots like Newdow, freedom is not enough. Their
agenda is intolerance. They wish not only to be free from saying prayers and
pledges they despise, they want to deny the community the right to express
its patriotism and faith. The mindset is totalitarian.
The temptation is to demand that Congress impeach the two
judges. But that would make them martyrs. Congress should rather re-enact
that 1954 law; then, using its power to restrict court jurisdiction under
Article III of the Constitution, strip from all federal courts any right to
rule on the pledge of allegiance. Remove them entirely.
And as all federal courts below the Supreme Court are creations
of Congress, Congress should require reconfirmation of all federal judges
after eight years. This would give elected representatives of the people a
way to grade the performance of unelected judges, some of whom have
forgotten the meaning of judicial restraint.
As Newdow and these judges used a seven-year-old girl to impose
an atheist agenda on America, Congress should seize on this outrage to drive
judges back into the narrow stall set aside for them in the Constitution.
The ruling will not take effect until appeals have been heard.
Attorney General Ashcroft should take the decision directly to the Supreme
Court. Let us see which justices will hold that the Pledge of Allegiance to
the Flag of the United States violates the Constitution of the United
Let the Supreme Court have this opportunity to strike down not
only the 9th Circuit decision, but all court precedents upon which it is
based, and restore the original intent of Madison and the Framers.
Should the Supreme Court uphold the 9th Circuit, the country
should defy the court. Conservatives and populists should seize on this
attack on faith and patriotism to restore constitutionalism to the courts
and begin the overthrow of a cultural revolution that judicial dictators,
appointed for life, have imposed upon us.
Yes, Mr. Jefferson, it's time for a little rebellion.