AFTERMATH OF PLEDGE RULING: BUSH, POLS PUSH "UNDER GOD," CALL FOR CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT
“The American people, when we pledge our allegiance to the flag, feel renewed respect and love for all it represents,” blustered Bush. "And no authority of government can ever prevent an American from pledging allegiance to this one nation, under God.”
“More than ever in the lifetimes of most Americans, the flag stands for a unified country. We've been united in our grief, and we are united in our resolve to protect our people and to defeat the enemies of the United States of America.”
President Bush also denounced the ruling as “out of step with the traditions and history of America. America is a nation ... that values our relationship with an Almighty. The declaration of God in the Pledge of Allegiance doesn't violate rights. As a matter of fact, it's a confirmation of the fact that we received our rights from God, as proclaimed in our Declaration of Independence.”
The president said the country needs “commonsense judges who understand that our rights were derived from God. Those are the kind of judges I intend to put on the bench.”
Perhaps he has not read Article VI of the Constitution, which reads, in part “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” He should also know that the Declaration of Independence refers to “Nature’s God,” which is a deistic term and is very different from the Christian god.
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said, “The president's reaction was that this ruling is ridiculous. The view of the White House is that this was a wrong decision and the Department of Justice is now evaluating how to seek redress.”
Many lawmakers cited cases where religious slogans and symbols are tolerated in government venues. Fleischer declared, “The Supreme Court itself begins each of its session with the phrase 'God save the United States and this honorable court. The Declaration of Independence refers to God or to the Creator four different times. Congress begins each session of the Congress each day with a prayer, and of course our currency says, 'In God We Trust.”
Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), a former vice presidential candidate who is considered a front-runner for the Democratic White House nod in 2004, jumped on the ruling, and said that he would support a constitutional amendment. “There may have been a more senseless, ridiculous decision issued by a court at some time, but I don't remember it,” Lieberman declared.
“What's next?” asked a flustered Rep. Roy Blunt, Missouri Republican. “Will our courts, in their zeal to abolish all religious faith from public arenas, outlaw 'God Bless America' too? The great strength of the United States is that we are and will continue to be, despite the liberal court's decision, one nation under God.”
Sen. John Warner (Republican-Virginia) said that lawmakers “shouldn't wait” for the Supreme Court to take action. “Why don't we go ahead and formulate this (constitutional) amendment, put it together, have it in place, presumably with all 100 United States senators?”
“Our Founding Fathers must be spinning in their graves,” declared Sen. Kit Bond, Missouri Republican. “This is the worst kind of political correctness run amok. What's next? Will the courts now strip 'so help me God' from the pledge taken from new presidents?”
Attorney General John Ashcroft said, “At this time when citizens from all backgrounds have come together to express their solidarity as Americans, this Justice Department will spare no effort to preserve the rights of all Americans.” He stated that his department will request a full hearing by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in an attempt to overturn the 2-1 ruling.