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Cussing's OK but Not Reverence?

Court's decision could be the last straw for many.

June 28, 2002|CAL THOMAS | Excerpted from Cal Thomas' syndicated column.

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling will encapsulate what many Americans, especially crucial swing voters, think is wrong with this country. We tolerate and protect those who wish to take God's name in vain, whether it's a cursing student or a book containing blasphemies that is assigned by a teacher--who is an agent of the state. But we penalize anyone who dares to speak well of God and we treat the Bible as contraband, where once it was welcomed and even given out free in schools.

Many Americans will see this judicial attempt to further secularize culture as less of an effort to protect the rights of a child than part of our national problem.

In addition to whatever political benefits (or detriments, depending on the political party) this ruling might have, it also could be the last straw for many who have children in public schools.

The U.S. Supreme Court's decision Thursday upholding the constitutionality of Cleveland's school choice program, which allows taxpayer money to be used to underwrite tuition at private and parochial schools--including religious schools--will allow many families the financial freedom to seek schools friendlier to their beliefs.

The circuit court's ruling on the pledge will not stand, even if the U.S. Supreme Court upholds it. If upheld on appeal, it will turn millions of Americans into lawbreakers because they'll continue to say the Pledge of Allegiance, just as many continue to pray before school athletic contests in violation of court prohibitions.

The overwhelming majority of Americans have been forced to stomach a lot of garbage in recent years, from pornography to flag burning, all for the sake of a supposedly "healthy" 1st Amendment. For them, any move to ban the pledge would be the final insult, and woe to the politician or judge who gets in their way.

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