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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 5, 2010 / 21 Nissan 5770

One nation, still under . . .

By Paul Greenberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Out of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco comes the latest decision in the never-ending tussle over religion, the Constitution, church-and-state and all that.


The 2-to-1 decision found the Pledge of Allegiance constitutionally kosher, even though it contains the words "under G0d." The only thing surprising about the decision is that it should have come out of the Ninth Circuit, for in the past that court has been a refuge and a sanctuary for those who want to scrub American law of any references to the holy.


But this time the court endorsed G0d 2 to 1, which must be a comfort to the Almighty.


Religion, the majority opinion concluded, has its secular uses: "The Pledge of Allegiance serves to unite our vast nation through the proud recitation of some of the ideals upon which our Republic was founded."


The phrase about this republic being under G0d was actually inserted during the Cold War, when Americans wanted to distinguish this republic from G0dless Communism — an understandable impulse. Customary ceremonies do change with the felt needs of the times, though they shouldn't be changed for light and transient reasons or they will cease to be customs.


Lest we forget, the original language of the Pledge had its political purposes, too, having been written with a view to uniting this "one nation indivisible" while the passions of the Civil War still lingered, and a sizable number of the unreconstructed were still attached to the idea of a divisible Union, or at least to the sacrifices their forbears had made for it.


Nowadays most of us, like General Grant after The War, would just say, "Let us have peace." Which may be the essential message of this latest appellate decision. The country ought to be able to abide some G0d talk in the schools, as surely as we abide chaplains in the armed forces, and religious references in state papers — from the Declaration of Independence to the now customary "Thank you, and G0d Bless America" with which presidents end their speeches.


Sometimes the references to the Divine in presidential speeches are more than passing; they're essential, as in Washington's Farewell Address and Lincoln's positively biblical Second Inaugural, the greatest of inaugural addresses. That speech and benediction could have come straight from the King James Version, and much of it did.


So long as little children are not forced to recite the Pledge, its words serve their civil purpose, G0d forgive us. Yes, there is something off-putting about the instrumental use of religion ("the family that prays together stays together") but that doesn't mean the end isn't worth achieving.


Nor is this majority opinion wrong in recognizing the central place of religious faith in this republic. It is church and state that need to remain separate in the American scheme of things; it would be impossible to separate religion and state in the dense fabric of American society. To quote John Adams, "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."

Letter from JWR publisher

The best editorial commentary on all such decisions upholding the secular uses of faith, or what has come to be known as civil religion, may have been offered by Gibbon in his "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire," for the parallels between that republic-and-empire and our own remain strong:


"The various modes of worship which prevailed in the Roman world were all considered by the people as equally true; by the philosopher as equally false; and by the magistrate as equally useful. And thus toleration produced not only mutual indulgence, but even religious concord."


You can feel the sense of unity at any presidential inauguration or community-wide Thanksgiving service. No dummies, the Romans. Which may be why they lasted so long. There's a lesson here that even the Ninth Circuit may have learned: Toleration pays. Even toleration of religion.


Of course there will always be those so pure of heart — that is, fanatics — that they can't tolerate the sight and sound of another's faith in the public square. Much like the plaintiff in this case. But if the devout in America have finally come to tolerating, even savoring, others' expression of faith in public ceremonies, even at the no small risk of profanation, then surely atheists, the latest of America's fighting faiths, can tolerate one in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Paul Greenberg Archives

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