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The Government's Disinterest in Religion
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I'm watching a legal scholar on C-Span discussing issues of religion and the First Amendment. A caller brought up the Newdow case, in which an atheist is suing the government for leading his daughter in the Pledge of Allegiance.

The scholar's name is Robert Tuttle, and he sounded reasonable until he said something like this:

"The phrase 'under god' is not a religious oath. It is in fact a testament to government's disinterest in religion."


I could almost buy that the phrase 'under God' is not specifically religious, but please, for the love of Pete, don't tell me that it's secular in nature. What a crock of shit.

Look, any phrase that explicitly recognizes the existence of a supernatural being is, by definition, religious. There's just no way around that, and anybody who argues otherwise is patently stupid. Reasonable people can argue about the extent to which such a phrase is religious, but no reasonable person can deny that an invocation of "God" is religious.

And the stance I've taken all along is that the free exercise of religion guaranteed by the First Amendment includes the right to not be religious. This is inherent in every right.

I have the right to own a gun. The government should not be able to compel me to own a gun against my will. I have the right to drink alcohol, but the government doesn't have the right to pour it down my throat.

Same with the religion. The government should not interfere with me if I initiate the exercise of religion. However, the government should not initiate any speech or action which contains religious content.

This is common sense, and it frankly appalls me that otherwise reasonable people argue against the principle.

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