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Jewish World Review Oct. 29, 2001 / 12 Mar-Cheshvan 5762

Don Feder

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No one's asking the ACLU to save them -- PEOPLE are praying in public places in open defiance of the Supreme Court. The New York Times trembles.

Children are reciting the pledge of allegiance (with those ominous words, "one nation under G-d"). Signs proclaiming "G-d Bless America" proliferate in public schools. The ACLU is agitated.

Patriotism and faith (they go hand in hand) have rebounded, and the guardians of multiculturalism and secularism look on with growing apprehension.

On Oct. 21, the Times alerted its readers of a dire development. In the wake of the World Trade Center attack, a prayer was offered before a high school football game in Greenbrier, Ark., even though our liege lords judicial told us in a decision last year that invocations at these events are tantamount to the Taliban's theocracy.

Nor is this an isolated incident.

A proposal before the South Carolina legislature would transform the state's moment of silence at the beginning of the school day into an audible prayer -- another desecration of the Constitution for the Supreme Court's majority. Texas Gov. Rick Perry shamelessly defended his participation in prayers at an elementary school earlier this month.

But First Amendment fetishists are striking back.

In Madison, Wisconsin -- like Berkeley and Cambridge, Mass., a community of arthritic peace-marchers -- the school board initially banned recitation of the pledge of allegiance and singing the national anthem.

Some parents -- not police and firefighters, you may be sure -- were upset by the pledge's appeal to the Almighty and "militaristic themes" in the Star-Spangled Banner. Roughly 20,000 e-mails from outraged citizens, and prospective recall campaigns, resulted in a reversal of this cretinous policy.

Litigation terrorists have threatened to sue the Rocklin, Calif., Unified School District for displaying what the ACLU calls a "hurtful, divisive message" ("G-d Bless America") on a marquee.

Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for The American Center for Law and Justice, patiently explains that even under the court's twisted interpretation of the establishment clause, "G-d Bless America" and "one nation under G-d" (referred to by one federal court as "ceremonial deism") are constitutionally permissible.

Sept. 11 has brought many things into sharper focus.

Politicians are no longer fearful of breaching that mythical wall of separation (words which do not appear in the First Amendment). President George Bush proclaimed Sept. 14 a National Day of Prayer and Remembrance. Congress authorized the use of the Capitol Rotunda for a day-long prayer vigil.

The House unanimously passed a resolution urging public schools to display "G-d Bless America" signs in a show of national unity. Not long ago, the high court was keelhauling high schools for posting The Ten Commandments.

New York City's Board of Education has brought back the pledge of allegiance to the Big Apple's schools, despite objections of the state ACLU that students who remain silent might be "scapegoated or targeted."

A cleansing wind is blowing through the land, clearing away cobwebs in the minds of those accustomed to unquestioningly obeying the elite.

You say you're uncomfortable with references to G-d in the pledge? Tough. America was founded on religious principles. The pilgrims weren't secular humanists. The Declaration of Independence appeals to the Supreme Judge of the World, not the chief justice of the Supreme Court.

Furthermore, if you can't bring yourself to publicly declare your loyalty to America (whatever your politics), you should consider relocating beyond our borders.

If football fans choose to ignore the Supreme Court's politically motivated reading of the Constitution, what will its G-d-phobic majority do -- hijack a plane and crash it onto the field at halftime?

With 5,500 of our fellow citizens dead and the looming threat of anthrax and small pox, Americans have little patience for cranks and fussbudgets who snivel about public expressions of faith -- including those in black robes. In the eternal scheme, they are no more than flyspecks. I've yet to see a sign asking the ACLU to bless anything.

JWR contributing columnist Don Feder's latest books are Who is afraid of the Religious Right? ($15.95) and A Jewish conservative looks at pagan America ($9.95). To receive an autographed copy, send a check or money order to: Don Feder, The Boston Herald, 1 Herald Sq., Boston, Mass. 02106. Doing so will help fund JWR, if so noted. He is also available as a guest speaker. To comment on this column please click here.

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© 2001, Creators Syndicate