Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
December 4, 2002
LAW: An Outsider's Beliefs

In a decision that may provide unintended benefits to religious people asserting their rights, the Ninth Circuit declines to dismiss the Pledge of Allegiance case on standing grounds. After the initial decision in the case holding the Pledge of Allegiance to be an unconstitutional establishment of religion (due to the phrase "under God"), the mother of the schoolgirl in the case got a custody order specifying that the dad, who was the force behind the lawsuit, did not have custody. He then dropped his claim to bring suit on behalf of the girl and sued instead as a parent, arguing that he had a personal right to sue as a parent. Let's pick up the Ninth Circuit's reasoning:

Newdow . . . can expect to be free from the government's endorsing a particular view of religion and unconstitutionally indoctrinating his young daughter on a daily basis in that official view. The pledge to a nation "under God," with its imprimatur of governmental sanction, provides the message to Newdow's young daughter not only that non-believers, or believers in non-Judeo-Christian religions, are outsiders, but more specifically that her father's beliefs are those of an outsider, and necessarily inferior to what she is exposed to in the classroom.

(Thanks to the prolific Howard Bashman for noting the decision).

This is a powerful argument that the judges may not have entirely thought through, because it implies a direct parental right not to have doctrines taught in school that contradict one's theology. The creationists will just loooove this language.

(Leave aside for now the PC hooey in the reference to "non-Judeo-Christian religions," which may be intended to exclude from the annals of the oppressors here a certain other prominent monotheist religion of arguably Judeo-Christian origin).

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:27 PM | Law 2002-04 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
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