Freedom of Speech or not?

Ok, call me crazy, but I thought that having freedom of speech (as stated in the Bill of Rights) meant that EVERYONE had it! I’ve been reading the posts about the case against the Pledge of Alliegance / and I realized that my response was attributed to many other issues.

Firstly, no one HAS to recite the pledge. That brings us back to prayer in schools. No, I’m NOT Christian, but I still see nothing wrong with it. If I get an extra 5 minutes to sleep before class and some other classmates decide to talk to the ceiling, how am I being hurt?

Let’s go further now to… sexual harassment! Now, I’m a woman. If someone at my job makes a lude comment or tells a stupid joke, who cares? They have the right to be an idiot, and I have the right to think as such. The ONLY time you’re being sexually harassed is if your boss tells you you’re fired (or you miss a promotion) for not sleeping with him/her. Otherwise, shut up!

I’m SO SICK of political correctness! I have the right to say whatever I please! If you’re insulted, then don’t be my friend. Ok? I’m sorry this came out so harsh. I’m really fairly soft-spoken, but I’ve had this annoyance building up for years now!

I personally do not see at as a freedom of speech issue. I see it more as the State endorsing a specific religion. Maybe if they rotated the dieties they invoked I might be more inclined to accept it. On Monday it could be …in God we trust, Tuesday**…in Zues…**, Wednesday …in Zoroaster(sp?) etc.

I am tired of political correctness as well, but I also do not like the government imposing a religious view on me. I also think that in God we trust should be removed from our currency and to stop having a chaplain begin the congressional sessions.

If people want to pray on there own or meet in a group and pray that is fine, but those of us with different or no particular belief should not have it forced apon us.

Considering that “Under God” was not even part of the original, I think it’s entirely appropriate to remove it.

OOPS, it is under God. No more beers tonight!

I doubt that you’re being hurt, but the First Ammendment specifically bars any law respecting the establishment of a religion. Seems to me that school prayer is definately out, and more arguably the Pledge as well. Of course, if you want to pledge alleigence to something, or talk to a particular deity, you are not barred from this, which is the extent of the free speech issue.

Is the original and Constitutionally correct version of the Pledge of Allegiance.

Amendments: Article I

Congress made this “law” from what I can decifer, in 1954. Clearly against the Constitution. “God” addesses (as someone put it on the Unaboard) the idea of Monotheism that is also directly related to the Christian/Jewish faiths and possibly an outcropping of the Islamic religion, but I am not up on that so I can’t state that as fact.

In either case the use of “God” is considered religious. Be it only a word? Yes, but for those that are in other religions or do not follow any religious (atheist) beliefs, this goes against their Constitutional rights when presented in a government funded institution like public schools. It is paid for by the government, the government needs to refrain from using the word “God” in it’s documents and ceremonies.

I applaud this atheist father for speaking out and making waves around the country over this. Some think it trivial but in my view it’s not trivial at all, it brings out the fact that the religious community needs to understand that the government is to be separate from our public offerings and it is documented in the Constitution.


I just re read your post.

Freedom of speech is outlined as the first article under the amendments of the Constitution. Yes, it is. However, under that article it also gives the right to religous freedom and with the “Pledge” it was passed to read “Under God” by congress. Therefore this “Under God” situtation plays into the rights of those that aren’t into a monotheist religion.

Children are basically “forced” to recite these lines with “under God” every morning.

Is this horrific? No, not really. But it does play into the role of government and how it treats it’s citizens. An atheist father that truly believes to bring up a child under atheist beliefs has every right to question what is taught in schools. I gather he was upset and Constitutionally, has every right to question this practice in a government run school.

Is it morally wrong for us to abide by the Constitution and ask that the government run it’s programs and such under those rules? No. If a parent wants more religion in their child’s life they can get involved and teach their children or send them to a religious school. The public school system should have absolutely no hand in even presenting “God” as the “omnicient” being in any way.

It’s just a word to some but to others it’s an afront to their own beliefs and the Constitution that protects them and their families from it.

As for the whole sexual harrassment thing, the politically correct thing. That’s a whole different ball O’ wax. This isn’t being “politically correct” in my view, it’s ensuring that government is not intruding upon the rights of a parent to teach their children without the influences surrounding them in publicly funded programs. This isn’t about being PC, this is about being true to the Constitution that governs our land. I am far from PC.

Point well taken by all! Thanx for your opinions!

mandielise. let me tell you a story.

i live in a country where seperation of church and state are not enshrined in the constitution. let us call this country orr-stral-ya.

i attended a public (state-run) school, and for the entire seven years of the time i was in primary school (i.e elementary school), the school allowed a representative of the church to come into the school for an hour each week and have free run with the minds of the children. as far as i know, it still happens, all over every primary school in nsw.

i worked out at a pretty young age that me and religion weren’t cut out for each other. i may even have quit believing in god before i quite believing in santa claus.

now, first, why did i ever believe in god? neither of my parents are religious, but they did not discuss the matter at all with me. it wasn’t relevant. no, i believed in god, because when i was in kindergarten, a man that my teacher let come into the classroom told me that there was a god. when you’re five years old, you take pretty much anything told to you in the classroom as the absolute truth. i believed when i was told that 2+2=4, i believed when i was told jesus would save me.

that is why seperation of the church and state is needed, this is why prayer should not be allowed in classrooms.

when me and jesus did part ways, i also ceased attending the weekly scripture classes. fortunately, the school could not force me to go to those.

guess how many students didn’t attend those classes?

one. me. (i think for a short period of time a girl who was a jehovah’s witness attended the school - she also didn’t attend the classes, but it certainly did nothing to minimise my freak status)

i’m sure all of these kids weren’t christians - the last australian census showed that 25% of australians indicated ‘no religion’ or ‘no answer’ concerning their faith. christianity isn’t as widespread here as it is the states. no, the kids attended the classes because everyone else did. because the teacher told you to and because no-one wants to stand out from the crowd.

it’s difficult to stand out from the crowd at any time, even moreso when you’re in the second grade.

so tell me, mandielise why should i have had to have been seperated because my belief system did not align with one prevalent in the community?

why should an american kid who is like me have to sit through organised prayer in school, or have to mouth words about belonging to ‘one nation under god’ when they don’t believe it? so dickheads like you can claim that they have ‘freedom of speech’? so you can bitch about how you are ‘SO SICK of political correctness’.

there’s more to freedom than making thirty children stand up and chant their belief in a deity. so fuck you, mandielise, fuck you for everyone who may not want to have to run with the crowd all their lives, fuck you for every american that actually cares about their liberties.
and on preview…

atheism isn’t a belief system. this sounds like an oxymoron to me.

:rolleyes: Well what is it then?

This point was debated thoroughly some time ago on this board.

If we define “a-unicornism” as the belief that unicorns do not exist, then atheism is no more a beleif system than a-unicornism.

gex gex, I live in Victoria and was outraged when this was introduced into my daughters primary school.
I challenged the principal and we were ‘permitted’ to remove our child for the 1 hour that that the Church were brainwashing the other kids.
During this 1 hour she would attend ‘library’ or another class.
AFAIK, the school cannot force you to attend ‘Religious Instruction’.

It is a lack of belief. Not believing in astrology isn’t a belief system, not believing in fairies isn’t a belief system, not believing in ET abductions isn’t a belief system, not believing in telepathy isn’t a belief system…Not believing in god/gods isn’t a belief system either.

as i said, that’s exactly what i did do, i went to the library for the hour - but i was the only one, and i would guess that your daughter doesn’t have much company when she leaves the class during this hour. i was officially seperated from the class - officially outcast due to my lack of belief, so that the school could continue endorsing a religion.

And if you define “a-unicornism” as not having any belief about unicorns, then it’d be more accurate to say that person lacks belief than he believes something, wouldn’t it? Same with athiesm.

I just don’t see how that can be. If your an athiest then you believe that God does not exist. When someone asks you what you believe do you say “I don’t have a belief system because I dont believe in a God”? You can change the wording around but athiesm is a belief. You’ve chosen to be an athiest so you have to believe what athiesm stands for -


a. Disbelief in or denial of the existence of God or gods.
b. The doctrine that there is no God or gods.

Ditto Vic. In fact, I’d completely forgotten I’d had it for 6 years of Primary School until you’d mentioned it!

Oddly enough, though, in my Year 12 class of about 110, I’d say at the most 5 were religious AT ALL. Frightening. I’d know about 3 other religious people in my life. But then there’re people like my Mum who would probably say she (and by extension, the family) was Anglican on the Census because she has a vague belief in some higher power she’s mentioned once and has never been to church. I’m pretty sure she was disappointed that I elected to choose “no religion” for some form I was filling out.

That census must be really wrong, or Melbournians are just really heatheny…


  1. dictionaries don’t provide proofs.

  2. the only reference to belief in the defintion was ‘disbelief’ - i.e lack of belief.

  3. i only believe that god does not exist to the extent that you believe the sky isn’t green. there is no belief about it. there’s no leap of faith required.

No, that is false. Atheists, generally (see below) hold no belief in God.

Incorrect again. Atheism is no more a “belief” than baldness is a “hairstyle.” You certainly can say “I believe there is not God” and call yourself an atheist, but not all atheists share that belief.

Appeal to authority.

Dictionaries have nothing to do with philosophical or religious debates, nor do they contain any useful information pertaining thereto. If you’re looking for the common-usage definition of atheism, then fine. If you’re looking for the definition(s) used by people debating philosophy, then you’ve gone to the wrong place.

Generally, atheism can be divided into two types: explicit (“stong”) and implicit (“weak”) atheism. The former is the kind of atheism described by most dictionaries - an explicit denial of the existence of God. Explicit atheism is a belief structure. Implicit atheism is a lack of belief in God. This type of atheism is not a belief. It is not incompatible with certain forms of deism or philosophies like Taoism, nor are it an agnosticism mutually exclusive.

So if you’re going to talk about “what atheists believe” please make sure you actually know what you’re talking about. You’ve succeeded in violating Friedo’s Second Law by attempting to classify the opinions of a group of people based on rather arbitrary and useless data, combined with a lack of knowledge about the subject matter at hand. Don’t do that.