Let Freethought Ring

Educate Politicians, the Media & Support Ninth Circuit Ruling

July 1, 2002


NOTE: For maximum effectiveness, please write or email identifying yourself as an individual, rather than as a member of an organization or as someone responding to our action alert. We recommend civil, succinct messages that focus on one or two main points or objections. Thank you for your activism!

The fallout continues from the June 26 decision of a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit declaring unconstitutional the 1954 addition of "under God" into the Pledge of Allegiance. It has been mind-boggling to witness the political opportunism and cavalier disregard for the separation of church and state demonstrated by public officials.

1. A resolution overwhelmingly passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday, June 27, condemning the decision.

Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-CT, called for a constitutional amendment to keep "under God" in the Pledge, saying, "There may have been a more senseless, ridiculous decision issued by a court at some time, but I don't remember it." House Majority Whip Tom DeLay, R-TX, called it a "court run amok." After Thursday's opening prayer, Sen. Majority Leader Tom Dascle said: "We are one nation under God. We affirmed that today as Americans, not as Republicans or Democrats, and we did so proudly."

"How can we maintain an independent judiciary if Congress reacts in this punitive way?" asks Foundation president Anne Gaylor, who also criticized the 99 members of Congress who, last Wednesday, "assembled on the steps of the Capitol to shout a religious pledge." She called that "a nauseating spectacle."

"I was reminded of the automatic prostration of Arabs to Allah. The Pledge of Allegiance existed for 75 years before the religious phrase was added. We go back to our roots when we attempt to restore it to its original patriotic intent," Gaylor added.

To read the resolution, go to the link below and under word search ask for "pledge of allegiance."

To check out the vote, which was 416 to 3 with 11 voting present, go to:

Those three courageous members of Congress who voted "nay" were: Rep. Bobby Scott, D-VA (), and Reps. Peter Stark () and Michael Honda, D-CA (http://www.house.gov/honda/contactmike.html). Rep. Scott is the leading foe of faith-based funding initiatives.

Please thank the dissenters, and educate their craven colleagues:

http://www.house.gov/house/MemberWWW.html

http://www.senate.gov/contacting/index.cfm

Also recently introduced with 35 sponsors is S. 2690, an act "to reaffirm the references to one Nation under God in the Pledge of Allegiance." To read this "act" that sounds like it was drafted by a Christian Right "think-tank," go to the link below and under bill search ask for "S. 2690":

2. Pres. George Bush, while traveling in Canada for an economic summit late last week, vowed to appoint judges who would overturn such rulings:

"America is a nation . . . that values our relationship with the Almighty. We need commonsense judges who understand that our rights were derived from God," said Bush. The U.S. Constitution which Bush took an oath to uphold, and which invests sovereignty in "We, the People," not a deity, specifically states in Art. VI that "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust."

Contact:

President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington DC 20501
202-456-1111

3. Contact the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (even if you do not live in one of the 9 states affected: California, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Hawaii, plus Guam).

Please send a concise letter of support for the beleaguered 3-judge panel which correctly found that the 1954 Act of Congress adding "under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance violates the Establishment Clause. The judges who properly decided that the religious pledge is unconstitutional were: Alfred T. Goodwin and Stephen Reinhardt. Concurring in part was Ferdinand F. Fernandez. Goodwin, a 78 year old minister's son, has been called "ridiculous" by President Bush, " "nuts" by Senate Majority Leader Tom Dascle, D-SD, and his decision was termed "junk justice" by New York Gov. George Pataki. This panel needs some support to counter the contempt and hate mail.

Write:

Office of the Clerk
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
PO Box 19393
San Francisco CA 94119-3939
(415)556-9800

4. Please keep sending those letters to the editor, responding to local editorials and condemning the anti-First Amendment acts of Congress, the President and Attorney General John Ashcroft (who has called for a full rehearing of the decision by the Ninth Circuit).

You can also contact the two dailies in San Francisco, where the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is located:

San Francisco Chronicle
Letters to the Editor

901 Mission St. San Francisco CA 94103
fax (415)543-7708

San Francisco Examiner
Letters to the Editor

988 Market St.
San Francisco CA 94102

Letters must be 200 words or fewer, send no attachments, and include your full mailing address and phone number(s).

4. Informal public media opinion polls via internet continue. Vote on:

Pledge/other polls: in a Massachusetts newspaper:

The San Francisco Chronicle is now asking for reader opinions on the motto "In God We Trust": www.sfgate.com/ Scroll down to "The Question." Just vote once, but pass the word! Ensure the voice of freethinkers is heard.

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