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Jewish World Review July 1, 2002/ 21 Tamuz, 5762

Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker
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Consumer Reports

Conspiracy theory No. 19

http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | Bush knew! There can be no other explanation for a federal appeals court decision to ban the Pledge of Allegiance in schools -- a ruling which was subsequently put on indefinite hold.

Forget ridiculous, absurd, outrageous. The ruling was just weird. To determine that "one nation under God" violates the constitutional prohibition against establishment of a religion is such a legal stretch and so out of touch with American reality that we can only figure it's a political scam.

Not by the left, which would be too obvious, but by the right, which ultimately will benefit. Stay with me here.

I figured this out with help from my conspiracy correspondents who e-mail me with daily updates on President Bush's foreknowledge of and participation in the Sept. 11 terrorist attack. You'll recall that Georgia Rep. Cynthia McKinney planted the conspiracy seeds a couple of months ago; now they've sprouted into a towering cosmic beanstalk down which little space men climb each night to implant sleeping damsels.

The dots came together when a conspiracy source wrote me:

"One of us even got a phone call from a political group in the US explaining the financial reasons that 911 was staged . . . and that many in Congress know this? So where the hell are you guys (journalists) on this? Waiting for something? The next 'terror' event to distract us so you don't have to deal with the real story . . . that the President and many others killed 3000 in NY and are killing more as we speak.

"Oh if only Bush and Co. would stage something soon you'd be saved from the truth! July 4 does seem to be the most likely day . . . not long to wait eh?"

And voila, like a deus ex machina came the court ruling.

I guess it wasn't that much of a stretch to figure out. Once you begin thinking like a conspiracy theorist, conspiracies are all around you. It was easy to see that Michael Newdow, who filed the California lawsuit allegedly on behalf of his second-grade daughter so she wouldn't have to say "one nation under God," was just a cog in the Bush conspiracy machinery, a Republican operative hiding under the mantle of deep conviction.

Well, we see right through it, buddy. Otherwise, how else could one explain this silly lawsuit and absurd ruling in the midst of a near-global war that threatens catastrophic human loss? Don't we have more important things to worry about? Couldn't we focus our energies on ways to bolster hope and community rather than in designing excuses to destroy our nation's symbols and rituals?

Clearly, the Republicans -- anticipating the backlash that has resulted -- are behind this, just as clearly as the U.S. Supreme Court will restore sanity and leave God alone for the time being. For regardless of one's definition of God -- and the Pledge leaves plenty of room for interpretation, not to mention the right to mumble or insert the word of one's choice (one nation under blog) -- not even many atheists want to challenge the ultimate patriotic symbol at this juncture.

As atheist blog pundit Stephen Green put it on his Web site (www.vodkapundit.com), Newdow's court challenge was idiotic and rude. The proper response to minor offenses, he says, is good manners.

"When someone asks your kids to use the words 'under God' abstractly in a voluntary oath -- understand that we atheists are in the slightest of minorities. And when you church people come to my door to talk about my soul -- I'll smile and say 'no thank you' in my very sweetest tone. . . . Have some manners. Show some understanding. Learn to shrug off the little stuff."

Given the reaction even among some atheists and Democrats (not that they're necessarily mutually inclusive, I hasten to add) -- including a unanimous 99-0 Senate resolution condemning the court ruling and 10,000 pundits punditing -- Bush must have known. He's a politician, after all, and politics makes for strange bedfellows. Why not an atheist and a Methodist putting their heads together to create a win-win controversy just as Americans are getting twitchy about the Fourth of July?

Of course I'm not saying Bush "knew" knew. I am not aware of any evidence showing that President Bush or members of his administration have personally profited from the court ruling. Or that they're planning another attack for July 4. But a complete investigation might reveal that to be the case.

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