I hear you. I got two copies of a very smarmy email, from people who I thought knew better, that started with the undergod pledge (with "under god" underlined), then it went on to god-bless everything but the dogcatcher and Death Valley, and ended up with "The very best gift you can give a soldier is a prayer." I wrote back that if I were in the military a box of homemade cookies or fudge (or a notice that we were being demobilized ASAP) would be appreciated a whole lot more than a bunch of words or a lit candle. I signed off with Robert Ingersoll's marvelous line:
"Hands that help are better far than lips that pray."
I haven't heard from either person since. I suppose I should feel relieved, but I wish people would think before they "forward this to everybody on your list." And I wish they would really think about that eloquent Ingersoll quote.
That is a great quote. And it isn't even a declaration of atheism. People who believe in god could also have the same attitude, kind of like "god helps those that help themselves".
That lawsuit was decided by the Supremes back in the 1940s.
West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943), is a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States that held that the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Cons... protected students from being forced to salute the American flag and say the Pledge of Allegiance in school.
It was a significant court victory won by Jehovah's Witnesses, whose religion forbade them from saluting or pledging to symbols, including symbols of political institutions. However, the Court did not address the effect the compelled salutation and recital ruling had upon their particular religious beliefs, but instead ruled that the state did not have the power to compel speech in that manner for anyone.
Hardly anybody knows about that decision except the JWs and atheists/agnostic who belong to orgs that discuss the matter. States and local school boards don't mention it because they want to avoid controversy with the crispies...or they are crispies, and they don't want others to know that they have rights, too.
Strictly speaking, from a fundamentalist and Jewish point of view, the ritual is "idolatry."
Ahah! You CAN go back and vote as many times as you want to. Very unscientific poll. I sent the link to the people at FFRF, so maybe they'll post it on their blog, FacePalm (I detest Facebook!), Tweet-twit (ditto), whatever. The percentage of "NO" is now 19%....tee-hee!
Vote early and often, folks!