The Instigator
Jessalyn
Pro (for)
Winning
20 Points
The Contender
Gileandos
Con (against)
Losing
6 Points

God should be removed from the Pledge of Allegiance.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 8 votes the winner is...
Jessalyn
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/16/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,230 times Debate No: 24315
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (8)
Votes (8)

 

Jessalyn

Pro

God should be removed from the Pledge of Allegiance for many reasons. For one, Separation of Church and State is in place for a reason. Religious morality should have no affect whatsoever on the law, and God's place in the Pledge is arguably the most blatant violation of this. Secondly, including God in the Pledge discriminates against atheists, polytheists, and anyone else of a religion that does not worship one God. In considering these points and many others, one can conclude that removing God from the Pledge of Allegiance would be beneficial and equalize religious/nonreligious groups.
Gileandos

Con

I want to thank my opponent for a great opportunity to debate this very interesting topic. I realize that my opponent will have her work cut out for her as she is not only pro and instigator bearing the brunt of the Burden of Proof but that she is bucking a historical consent and consensus for the pledge of allegiance to include ‘under God’

I will succinctly argue for two main contentions.

Layout

C1 – No separation of church and state is warranted, and is merely an interpretation of a single branch of government namely 9 people, especially as this is a recent non-traditional interpretation by 9 overly political individuals. As well, the Executive and legislative branches disagreed with the Supreme Courts decisions.

In God we trust is in no way religious though it is theistic. Thus is it is secular. The purpose was twofold, first to counter the Supreme Court decision of 1947 and second to combat atheistic propaganda.

C2 – Eliciting loyalty is the ultimate purpose of the Pledge of Allegiance. Clearly citing divine incumbency is the highest form one could elicit. So the pledge appropriately appeals and affirms the loyalty of the majority of citizens within the country, thus leaving ‘under God’ within the pledge confirms the most efficacious form of the pledge of allegiance.


***

Contention 1: Rebuttal on my opponent’s first point:

“For one, Separation of Church and State is in place for a reason. Religious morality should have no affect whatsoever on the law, and God's place in the Pledge is arguably the most blatant violation of this.”

There is no ‘separation of church and state’ in the constitution.[1]

There is merely an interpretation of 9 judges, ignoring the precedent process of our legal system.[3]


Considering relevant Supreme Court decisions:

The first Supreme Court decision in the 1880’s concluded no separation of church and state, was implied in Thomas Jefferson’s letter either. In fact, the letter meant the opposite. Reynolds v. United States case in 1878

“[T]he rightful purposes of civil government are for its officers to interfere when principles break out into overt acts against peace and good order. In th[is] . . . is found the true distinction between what properly belongs to the church and what to the State.” [2]

The subsequent follow years and opposite interpretations by the Supreme Court are based upon a Supreme Court decision ignoring precedence of the previous court, to which they were supposed to defer.

This court case typically cited was:

In 1947, in the case Everson v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court declared, "The First Amendment has erected a wall between church and state. That wall must be kept high and impregnable. We could not approve the slightest breach."

Which is the foundation precedent for all current Supreme Court decisions of which ignore the older (Reynolds v. United States case in 1878) and more valid precedent that cites Jefferson’s entire letter in context, concluding no separation as defined today.

This is a violation of Precedent.

American law is based on the principle of precedent, meaning that if a court has already ruled on a given legal issue and another case arises with the same legal issue, the holding in the previous case will be applied to the new case. The use of precedents helps to promote stability in the legal system, as all parties are given notice as to the current state of the law. Adhering to the use of precedent is also known as the doctrine of stare decisis (Latin: "it stands decided").”[3]

Recently the Supreme Court has started making rulings in a ‘middle ground fashion’ that religion and references to God can be made assuming that no explicit religious preference is given, the legal definition of secular.[5]

The idea that we are NOT an atheistic state but that secularism is maintained to avoid any religious preference. What my opponent seems to be proposing that America is an atheistic state, rather than a secular one, which is clearly not the case. We are not ‘without God, but we are without specific denominational preference.

Neither the Executive Branch nor the legislative branches would concur with her in any way, and the 9person judicial Branch would only concur with a non-preferential status, not outright neglect of ‘God’ references.

- We see the reasoning. At the Gettysburg address, Lincoln himself stated the fact: 'that the nation shall, under God, have a new birth of freedom.' [4]

The later addition to the pledge was to honor this new era that we were in as a direct result of the new birth the civil war gave us.

Such interpretation has been held up by the Supreme Court, as a secular honoring of a religious tradition is a middle ground and is not ‘endorsement of any specific religion’. [5]

***

Contention 2: The pledge addition ‘Under God’ was for Eisenhower and Congress was for the purpose of combating atheist indoctrination, which resulted in 100’s of millions of deaths, clearly a secular purpose.

To quote my opponent: “Secondly, including God in the Pledge discriminates against atheists, polytheists, and anyone else of a religion that does not worship one God.”

- The second causal agent for the inclusion was the known atheist propaganda from communism rampant in the late 40’s and 50’s. Eisenhower and Congress both agreed to include this provision to combat atheism. [6]

- Another civil war icon was “In God we Trust” and was adopted as the official motto of the United States and placed on coins also in the 1950’s to combat atheistic propaganda from the communist states. [7]

Clearly atheists who have submitted to the propaganda should not be complaining about a tactic being used to combat their propaganda. This was a tool to combat an evil ideology that caused the murder of 100’s of millions of people in the 20th century. This is a clearly secular concept and with heated warrant.[8]

The civil authorities clear concern was to elicit the loyalty of the masses and combat that widespread propangda that they were concerned would undermine the peace and safety of the American society. Given the murder count cited above, a hindsight validated viewpoint.

***

Summary:

We see clearly that my opponents points are not factually accurate, ignore the complexity of the political landscape and certainly do not meet the Burden of Proof to claim such a change is needed.

We see that the purpose of the Pledge of Allegiance is to elicit the loyalty of citizens. Given that the majority of citizens are mono-theists, ‘Under God’ obviously should remain.

We have seen also that the reference gives NO special religious treatment thus remains secular in nature and also meets Supreme Court interpretations of the Establishment Clause. To compound that, the reference honors a sacred time and speaks within our nations History as Abraham Lincoln claimed at Gettysburg “our nation was rebirthed anew fully ‘Under God’. All current constitutional interpretations are satisfied.

This is further augmented by the concern of our civil authorities that our nation becoming atheist, rather than secular, would result in an infringement of peace and stability of our society as resulted in every atheistic state to date.




[1] http://www.wallbuilders.com...
[2] http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com...

Reynolds v. United States case in 1878

[3]http://www.uscourts.gov...

[4] http://showcase.netins.net...

[5] http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us...

[6] http://www.ushistory.org...

[7] http://undergod.procon.org...

[8] http://www.polishlibrary.org...

Debate Round No. 1
Jessalyn

Pro


Thank you very much for your thorough and factual response! I apologize for my failure to specify a structure for the rounds, as I certainly did not make my points past a short introduction. Because the mistake was on my part, I greatly apologize and will include my rebuttal to my opponent’s argument along with the points I had originally planned to make. I would like to make it clear, however, that I am by no means arguing that the United States is an atheistic nation, but rather that it is secular…Which should be evident, at least, in the Nation’s Pledge.


You first bring up the point, toward the beginning of your argument, that “In God we trust is in no way religious though it is theistic. Thus is it is secular. The purpose was twofold, first to counter the Supreme Court decision of 1947 and second to combat atheistic propaganda.” How is it that anything containing a theistic reference is secular by any means? While theism is not necessarily a religious concept, it is spiritual, and therefore should not be considered secular.


In C2, you state that “…the pledge appropriately appeals and affirms the loyalty of the majority of citizens within the country, thus leaving ‘under God’ within the pledge confirms the most efficacious form of the pledge of allegiance.” Key word: “majority.” Ridding the pledge of any religious implications altogether would change “majority” to “entirety.” While majority should be considered over minorities, removing God altogether would consider both and create equality.


While Separation of Church and State is not clearly stated in the constitution, it originated in Tomas Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists in 1802, as you have mentioned. The portion of the letter addressing Separation of Church and State reads:


I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. (1)


Because Thomas Jefferson is, indeed, one of America’s Founding Fathers, it seems that his opinion should be taken into perspective when making decisions that impact the Nation so directly. You have made the claim, however, that Thomas Jefferson’s idea of Separation of Church and State was taken out of context. What separation, then—if not between Church and State as assumed today—was Jefferson citing in his letter? Because there is no clear metaphorical or otherwise non-literal meaning to his statement, it is proper to assume the letter was meant literally to avoid interpretational conflict that may favor one side of the argument above the other.


My opponent then made the statement that “the idea that we are NOT an atheistic state but that secularism is maintained to avoid any religious preference. What my opponent seems to be proposing that America is an atheistic state, rather than a secular one, which is clearly not the case. We are not ‘without God, but we are without specific denominational preference.”


I am confused as to what it was that I said that gave you the impression that I am proposing that America is an atheistic nation rather than a secular one. Since we are, as you stated, “without specific denominational preference” (which I agree with entirely), how is it appropriate to include one specific deity in the nation’s Pledge rather than another? Removing all religious references altogether would not turn the nation into an atheistic one, but rather equalize it.


If we are without a specific denominational preference, we would be without God. While no specific denomination is mentioned, monotheism is; therefore monotheistic religions are favored above atheistic, agnostic, polytheistic, pantheistic, etc. religions. No specific religion is being favored, however one theistic classification is. Making references to God is excluding every religion that does not worship one God, making many feel as if they are not American citizens because part of America’s Pledge does not apply to them…And while America is not an atheistic nation, it is also not a theistic nation. The Treaty of Tripoli states, in article 11, that “…as the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.” (2)


Your second point deals, for the most part, with Eisenhower’s reasons for including “Under God” in the Pledge. Regardless of the ultimate reason, when considering America’s growing diversity in religion it’s clear that including theistic references in the Pledge is discriminatory against those who do not fit the mold set by it. One could argue that segregation is historical and should therefore be preserved, but the general population would agree that abomination of segregation was necessary because it is a negative aspect of history.


You made the statement that “…Clearly atheists who have submitted to the propaganda should not be complaining about a tactic being used to combat their propaganda.” The atheists who were responsible for that particular propaganda are not the ones complaining. Atheists (and people of many differing religious groups) who had nothing to do with the Communist propaganda are suffering from past occurrences that they had absolutely no control over. This part of the Pledge was added in 1954, and times have changed immensely since then. The original reasoning for “Under God” being added to the Pledge is irrelevant, and the ever-changing religious dynamics in America should be taken into consideration because it concerns current-day status.


One could say the same about Christianity—that it has been responsible for horrific crimes and should therefore be opposed in the Nation’s Pledge. Since Christianity has been the basis of various hate crimes and wars, should “without God” be inserted in to the Pledge in opposition? I may be mistaken, but I doubt that would be considered a reasonable approach on the situation—I certainly do not believe it is.


I would like to close my argument by posing the following question to my opponent: What group of citizens would be negatively affected by removing all theistic references from the Pledge?


Again, I thank you very much for engaging in this debate. It’s been a pleasure, and good luck on Round 2!


(1) http://www.loc.gov...


(2) http://www.tektonics.org...



Gileandos

Con

I thank my opponent again for this fun debate and I do love these types of debates that factually challenge belief sets held.

We saw in my first round of arguments two clear contentions and within my opponent’s first round that she felt she was not arguing for an atheist state but a secular one, and I quote her clarification:

I would like to make it clear, however, that I am by no means arguing that the United States is an atheistic nation, but rather that it is secular…Which should be evident, at least, in the Nation’s Pledge.”

I was also clear to define via the court system and documentation that “Under God” clearly meets a secular definition NOT an atheistic one. A secular definition again is irreligious, making no preference of religion. Secularism is not defined as without God, which is proper atheism. Taking God out is atheistic.

My opponent has offered additional arguments and complaints. I will address these and reaffirm my 2 contentions within due to the low clarity of my opponent’s last round. In my final round I will restate my two main contentions.


Opponent’s complaint 1:

How is it that anything containing a theistic reference is secular by any means? While theism is not necessarily a religious concept, it is spiritual, and therefore should not be considered secular.”

Again as cited before, secular is not devoid of God, but irreligious, neither confirming nor denying a religion. All of the courts affirm two articles:

1: A reference to be not expressing religious preference [Ibid]

2: or a reference to tradition. (Example Washington’s senate house, White House, monuments etc… is rife with Christian symbolism from our past) [2]

And also to confound my opponent’s burden of proof, as stated before, the Executive nor legislative branch nor the judicial branch prior to 1947 affirmed America as a secular nation. In fact, they affirmed it as non-denominational Christian. [1]

What my opponent is proposing is a new nation without references to God. She has a huge burden to met to be able to make a case for this new nation.

Opponent’s complaint 2:

“Key word: “majority.” Ridding the pledge of any religious implications altogether would change “majority” to “entirety.” While majority should be considered over minorities, removing God altogether would consider both and create equality.”

This is a false.

First. Equality is met as all people are equally under God. We could say also that everyone is equally UNDER the Law. Even though Criminals would feel their opinion is not heard.

Second, my opponent is suggesting that every voice be heard, but does not give warrant as to why the atheist voice merits the same favor.

Third, what my opponent intends here is to suggest that an atheist view is benign. She would need to prove this considering.

- Atheism as a philosophy has been complicit in the murder of an estimated 100 million people in the 20th century alone, when atheism became a significant factor in the espoused philosophy of the state. [3]

To quote Richard Wurmbrand (tortured by atheists for 14 years, wife was raped and tortured by atheist, his five year old left on the streets with threats of arrest and torture to anyone that aided the five year old)

The cruelty of atheism is hard to believe when man has no faith in the reward of good or the punishment of evil. There is no reason to be human. There is no restraint from the depths of evil which is in man.”[4]

and Pope Benedict

As we reflect on the sobering lessons of the atheist extremism of the twentieth century, let us never forget how the exclusion of God, religion and virtue from public life leads ultimately to a truncated vision of man and of society and thus to a “reductive vision of the person and his destiny” [5]

- Under God was placed within the pledge (By the President and Congress) to combat atheism due to its malignant nature rather than its benign nature as cited in round 1 [Ibid]

In our history, we have never viewed atheism to be benign.

My opponent also made a reference to the crimes of religion. Whether I concur or not, my opponent needs to establish
- these crimes with some basis
- needs to show this is a result of Theism to warrant removal under God
- that somehow these individual crimes perpetrated in the name of religion outweigh its benefit.- Then conclude by citing why the courts uphold an irreligious interpretation currently are wrong and that a pledge devoid of God is better.

Opponent’s complaint 3:

Separation of Church and state.

My opponent asked for Clarity here. Supreme court Held the actual meaning of Jefferson’s Danbury letter was that the Government should never make a law ‘about’ religion or restricting religion unless it was against good and public order. The Court found that indeed, religion could be and was expected by Jefferson to be involved in the government of the nation. The Supreme Court found this to be the interpretation in 1887 of the Establishment clause. This was the Precedent ignored by the 1947 Supreme Court, which was a violation of our judicial system. [1]

Please read through the sources as they bring clarity.


Opponent’s complaint 4:

“What group of citizens would be negatively affected by removing all theistic references from the Pledge?”

This very question from my opponent upholds part of my first contention.

The purpose of the pledge is to elicit the maximum loyalty of the population. My opponent suggests here that entirety can be achieved by removing ‘Under God’ from the pledge, but can it?

How will say for example the largest portion of Americans… Christians feel if America is NOT a nation under God?

We see just two examples of internet searching where teachings are on the fact that our Ultimate Loyalty is to God first, then family, then nation. [6] [7]

We even see Sarah Palin cite the Christian Motto:

As always, my family comes first and obviously Todd and I put great consideration into family life before making this decision. When we serve, we devote ourselves to God, family and country. My decision maintains this order.”[8]

In fact, the founding of America is rife with the fact that Christians left their previous nation to be able to come to a place to freely serve God. From the Puritans to the Quakers. [9] [10]

If in fact, my nation claimed to no longer be led by God or to be blessed by God or that we do not trust in God, then my own loyalty would be uncertain.

We can see that removing this motto would have the opposite effect of the VERY INTENTION of the pledge to illicit the loyalty of the maximum number of people. Again, 3% of the population being disloyal is a marginal issue. Better than half the population being disloyal, emmigrating and worse in riot (proverbially speaking) is a HUGE issue and brings instability.

I look forward to my opponent’s next round.

[1] http://www.wallbuilders.com...

[2] http://www.christianindex.org...

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org...

[4] Richard Wurmbrand - Atheist Handbook

[5]http://www.catholicnewsagency.com...

[6] http://www.internetmonk.com...

[7] http://christiananswers.net...

[8] http://www.washingtonpost.com...

[9] http://en.wikipedia.org...

[10] http://www.favimp.com...

Debate Round No. 2
Jessalyn

Pro


Thank you for your response, and I apologize for the briefness of my argument. I would be more than happy to offer clarification and evidence wherever is needed upon request. My opponent has stated that:

“I was also clear to define via the court system and documentation that “Under God” clearly meets a secular definition NOT an atheistic one. A secular definition again is irreligious, making no preference of religion. Secularism is not defined as without God, which is proper atheism. Taking God out is atheistic.”

Removing God from the Pledge will not make it an atheistic state. If the Pledge were to contain something to the effect of “one nation under no God,” this change would most certainly be considered atheistic. However removing it altogether would make it void of all religious reference, therefore it would not be atheistic, but merely secular (even by my opponent’s definition of secular, which I will agree to settle upon for the sake of time). I will now go on to address the “complaints” refuted by my opponent.

Complaint 1:

My opponent made the following claim:

“Again as cited before, secular is not devoid of God, but irreligious, neither confirming nor denying a religion.”

I’d like to point out that “under God” certainly rides the verge of confirming monotheism—or at least affirming it as a national “normalcy.” If “under God” neither confirms nor denies a religion, “under no God” must not, either? “Under God” denies every atheistic religion there is—from Buddhism to Satanism to flat out atheism.

Complaint 2:

Again, I am not denying that atheism may have been the cause of historical conflict—what I am denying is that any monotheistic religion is any more “peaceful” than atheism. My opponent seems to be implying that atheism is an evil, immoral religious mindset and ignoring the numerous acts of violence committed by monotheistic religions. He also made the statement that: “my opponent is suggesting that every voice be heard, but does not give warrant as to why the atheist voice merits the same favor.” Are you indicating that the voices of atheists weigh less than those of monotheists? Please explain your reasoning.

The acts you are attributing to atheism were not definitively committed in the name of atheism, but by proclaimed atheists who had entirely separate motives in their crimes. The monotheistic killings I will mention were, for the most part, carried out either in the name of a God or for the purpose of converting people of other religions into a different religion. I am not stating that these crimes are the reason God should be removed from the Pledge; I am refuting my opponent’s claim that atheism has caused more uproar than monotheism and that God should therefore remain to combat atheism. The following historical conflicts can be partially or entirely attributed to monotheism—Christianity, specifically:

  • The Crusades took place in the Middle Ages for a variety of religious reasons, primarily for the purpose of reclaiming the Holy Land from the Muslims. It is unknown exactly how many people were killed in this series of “Holy Wars,” but considering the time span and number of wars involved, one could assume the numbers to be quite great. (1) and (2)
  • The Taiping Rebellion began in the 1850s and was led by Hong Xiuquan, a Christian convert who aimed to implement his newly-created political creed into the Chinese government. The creed was partially influenced by elements of Christianity, as was Xiuquan’s claim to be the brother of Jesus Christ. While the goal of Xiuquan was not entirely Christian-based, he used religious claims to persuade (or brainwash) citizens into trusting and following him. Christianity empowered him, giving him a tool to use in convincing citizens to join him in his plan. Approximately 20 million people died during the Taiping Rebellion. (3)
  • Christopher Columbus led a mass killing of approximately one-half of the Native American population in the early 1490s. The purpose of Columbus’ genocide was to take advantage of the Native American resources as well as to convert them to Christianity (which was the main motive for the genocide). Over half of the Native American population was wiped out in the name of Christianity. (4)
  • European Witch-Hunts took place from the 1400s to the 1700s. Led mainly by Christians, the accusers claimed that witches rejected Christianity and made a conscious decision to worship Satan instead of the Christian God. The European witch-hunters used Christianity as an excuse to kill all citizens who did not conform to their religion, and succeeded in killing hundreds of innocent witches and non-witches. (5)

There has been far less bloodshed as a result of, say, Wicca than there has been in the name of most known monotheistic religions. Does this mean we should implement Wiccan beliefs into the Pledge of Allegiance in effort to oppose the “evil” committed in the name of monotheism?

Opponent’s complaint 3:

I appreciate the clarification, however this is specifically what I am arguing against: the legal “permission” for a monotheistic reference to be included in the Pledge. It is discriminatory to make such exceptions for certain belief systems rather than others. If the reference was used to “combat atheistic influence,” why not include “under many Gods” (I am certainly not implying that this would be right, either)?

Opponent’s complaint 4:

“How will say for example the largest portion of Americans… Christians feel if America is NOT a nation under God?”

This is my point exactly—how do non-Christians feel if America IS a nation under God? Removing theistic reference from the Pledge does not mean America is not a nation under God—but it also doesn’t mean it’s not a nation under Allah, Zeus, Baal, Odin, Pan, or any other deity…And it certainly doesn’t mean it IS a nation under any higher power at all. It leaves religion entirely open to the citizen, and allows people of every religion (or lack thereof) to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in full without having to leave two words out.

With the growing diversity of America, the possibility exists that, in the distant future, America may not consist of mostly Christians. It could consist of, for example, Luciferians. If this were to occur, and the Pledge was changed to read “under Lucifer,” would it be fair to the other religious groups (including Christians) in America?

Thank you very much for your reply, and I await your rebuttal with the utmost eagerness.

(1) http://www.middle-ages.org.uk...

(2) http://www.religioustolerance.org...

(3) http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu...

(4) http://www.historyisaweapon.com...

(5) http://www.religioustolerance.org...

Gileandos

Con

I again thank my opponent for this entertaining debate and opportunity to address a widely held misconception of the common atheists.
My opponent claims that to be atheistic it would require a statement of ‘No God’ to be added!

If that were the case, using such a rational, it is only irreligious and secular if the word ‘Secular’ is added! Making us ‘one secular nation’!
As amusing as the flaw in rational is, it is clear that to be devoid of God is the definition of atheism, without God. If “No God” were to be placed within the pledge this would be actively ‘denying God’ and defined as anti-theistic.

Complaint 1:

Again my opponent’s complaint here is not proven to be valid. We all agree that People are equal. That does not make all ideologies equal. An ideology of pedophilia deserves outright death and is certainly not equal to even the worst definition of marriage. An ideology that sacrifices children on an altar of fire is certainly not equal to an ideology that honors the lives of individuals and children at that.

My opponent cannot keep saying that someone is offended. She needs to prove why that the pedophile or the person who sacrifices children on an altar has an ‘equal’ voice.

- Again people are equal, ideologies are not.

Complaint 2:

Again, I am not denying that atheism may have been the cause of historical conflict—what I am denying is that any monotheistic religion is any more “peaceful” than atheism.”

You have to do more than assert it, you have to prove it.

1: You need to show that Atheism will instill more loyalty than theism, meet a definition of secular, and honor our heritage

Then ignore:

2: That “Under God” harkens back to our historical past

3: That “Under God” is religious as opposed to irreligious.

As to theism and being on par with Atheism, body count alone denies this.

Atheism 100 million bodies in a single century when it gets in charge.

All religions combined do not even come close [1]

My opponent states:

“The acts you are attributing to atheism were not definitively committed in the name of atheism, but by proclaimed atheists who had entirely separate motives in their crimes.”

This quote misses the point of a prime motivator and a complicit ideology. Most of the even ‘proclaimed’ religious occurrences were complicated and had a large number of factors involved.

This issue is, if the religious ideology or atheistic ideology was root cause.

Let me be clear

Again,

Let me be clear, even if you find fault with a religious ideology that does not in ANY WAY make theism, or an irreligious belief in God, as the pledge affirms, to be less or equal to atheism.

A: Crusades [2][7], this was a defensive action against a religious expansive ideology that had been killing Christians for decades, that had become intertwined with Islam. Most will affirm each of these holy wars degenerated into civil struggles for land, wealth and power. Both ideologies, Muslim and Christian were beset by evil civil interaction. Secular greed was at issue, not religious ideology.

B: The Taiping Rebellion [3] – You must be joking on this one.

- A civil war against an oppressive, evil feudal government by a man claiming to be Jesus’ brother is NOT a ‘Christian’ motivated slaughter.

- Even the body count is dubious and merely due to two census counts.

- As well, the body count was on the side of the losing rebels, your “so-called” Christians. The feudal government executed them ruthlessly after their losing.

C: Christopher Columbus [4] [8] [9] all of the false history surrounding Christopher Columbus came from the accusations of Francisco de Bobadilla, of which, Christopher Columbus was exonerated.

- Columbus did not believe this was the passage to India, but these Islands were the islands God personally told him to go and convert to Christianity. He wrote this in his book of prophecies, only held in spanish until this last decade it was translated. Unknown to historians.

- It was his non-Christian Crew that committed the atrocities.

- Body count was nowhere near 100 million.

- De Bobadilla took Christopher Columbus back in chains, with a litany of false accusations that remain in history books today, but Christopher Columbus was completely exonerated upon audience with King and Queen.

- The overwhelming Arawak death count was due to mass suicide compounded by misunderstanding. The non-Christian murderers on the crew did not even kill that many people.

D: European Witch-Hunts [1] [5] [6] – Here again another factual tragedy.

- Christianity since AD 866 (Pope Nicholas I) had a well established tradition and teaching against such tortures used by the rampant lay people in these brutal executions.

- This was a tragic response due to low education that plagued the era. Regino of Prüm (A.D. 906) Archbishop - wrote these ideas are of a wild imagination and untrue. The educated clergy were long teaching against these lay myths.

- The body count is mere thousands, even if you attribute this to ‘Christianity’.

Concise:

All of these examples do nothing to theism, even if religion was completely guilty! Not one of these examples was motivated by a belief in a Divine creator, judge and perfect moral agent.

Complaint 3:

I do not see where my opponent became clearer. The issue at hand is that the pledge is legal, agreed upon by all branches of government (Executive, legislative and judicial) this is the traditional position of this country. The government is irreligious and makes no law against religion (that is pick one and exclude others) but it does expect religion to be involved in governing. [Ibid]

Complaint 4:

My opponent here seems to reinforce my contentions. Who cares if 3% of the population who holds to an evil malignant destructive ideology becomes disloyal?
Do you care if pedophiles become disloyal and act on their predatory ideology?
Do you care if a religion that sacrifices children becomes disloyal to America?

Of course not. However, we do have a problem if we as a country fail to elicit a large portion of the countries good ideology of theism. Especially as stated before the fact that Christians clearly will leave a country that does not serve God!

Having 3% in open rebellion is not as large an issue as 50%+.

Summary:

We have seen that Pro, has not met the burden of proof here.

- She states that all ideologies are equal, yet fails to show this with examples that do not detract from religion much less theism.

- She also cannot affirm that atheism, the denial of divine retribution and moral incumbency, resulting in the slaughter of 100 million people in a single century, should be recognized of equal value. We have seen Pastor, Pope and President all affirm the destructive ideology that is atheism.

To counter this baseless assertion:

- We see the pledge is secular and irreligious already.

- We see that the pledge honors our civil war history.

- The pledge does what it intends to do by eliciting the majority of the population to loyalty. There are so few people of multi-god faiths this ideal does not appeal to as to be irrelevant to be necessary to elicit their loyalty. Hindu’s have a God creator, Muslims, Christians, and Jews etc…

My opponent has not in anyway given us reasons that meet her burden to prove her resolution. We have seen powerful reasons to negate it.

Under God was placed into the Pledge to affirm our historical tradition, affirm our denial of atheism, elicit the maximum loyalty of the population and meets an irreligious definition.

[1] http://www.inplainsite.org...

[2] http://catholiceducation.org...

[3] http://taipingrebellion.com...

[4] http://www.history-timelines.org.uk...

[5] http://www.fordham.edu...

[6] http://www.newadvent.org...

[7] http://www.victorhanson.com...

[8] http://www.eagleforum.org...

[9]\http://chapmanresearch.org...

Debate Round No. 3
Jessalyn

Pro

By that logic, anything that doesn’t include “under God” is atheistic, then! Certain legal documents, my birth certificate…Even the backs of cereal boxes, for that matter. In reality, not mentioning a higher power certainly does not make it atheistic. Not mentioning it makes all references nonexistent; therefore they can be neither theistic nor atheistic. If anything, it would be considered more agnostic.

Complaint 1:

To my knowledge, there have been far more sacrifices done in the name of a higher power than there have been in the name of “lack thereof.” There has thus far been NO documented religion condoning the sacrificing of children, and any such deed has either been carried out for personal reasons or due to misinterpretation of religious text.
You’ve provided no means of backing up your statement about “sacrificing children on an alter of fire,” however even if your claims were legitimate, such an ideology should still possess an equal voice to that of, say, Christianity.
The clearest and most fair solution is to consider all religions as equal, because as I have stated…

A) There has thus far been no documented religion to condemn the killing of children, and even if there were, there are plenty of non-monotheistic religions that have very similar morals to, say, Christianity. Why should they be considered less?
B) There is no concrete set of morals that has not been derived from religion, so on what basis should a religion’s morals be judged? Now, keep in mind I am not stating that morals would not exist without religion. I believe exactly the opposite. I am speaking in terms of written, official moral codes that validate certain acts and invalidate others.
C) Who should be delegated the authority to judge religions in this manner? Anyone religiously biased would obviously not qualify, and even an atheist would have biases for or against particular religions/moral sets.

As you can see, my opponent has both a distorted and inaccurate bias against certain religions that cannot be factually backed up. There is no fair way to judge which religions are more morally sound than others, so the only reasonable solution would be to consider all religions and ideologies equal. Who has the authority to say that pedophilia is wrong? While the majority of America would agree that this act is morally flawed, there is still a percentage that doesn’t; and that voice should be heard no matter what and considered equal to the voice of its counterparts. The same goes for religion.

Complaint 2:

You stated that “This issue is, if the religious ideology or atheistic ideology was root cause.” This is exactly my point. You’re the one who is claiming that, due to atheism’s past correlation with Communism, it should still be combated today. There are very few crimes committed that can be backed up with a statement such as “I did it because I want more people to become atheists,” or “I did it because there is no God.”

The above argument brings us back into the issue of what classifies something as atheistic. Would a crime committed, say, out of sheer hatred (not religiously influenced whatsoever) be considered atheistic just because there was no higher power involved? Certainly not! The same goes for God being in the Pledge; if it’s void of religious reference, it’s not atheistic.

Since we are nearing the end of our debate, there is no point in debating the facts of these crimes. I would like to address your ending statement for complaint 2, though. You stated the following: “All of these examples do nothing to theism, even if religion was completely guilty! Not one of these examples was motivated by a belief in a Divine creator, judge and perfect moral agent.”

How do these examples do nothing to theism? The religions we are speaking of are monotheistic—a form of theism. If we’re going by this logic, then the millions of people killed by Communists you are speaking of wouldn’t have any effect on atheism either!

Complaint 3:

My point is that religion should not be involved in governing, because it is a personal and purely theoretical topic.
Should we involve the possibility of unicorns existing in the way America is governed? Because we can neither prove nor disprove the existence of unicorns, it is best just to leave them out of official Pledges and laws. Allow the citizens to believe in them if they so desire, but do not mix them with the state—because some citizens do not believe in unicorns, but rather fairies or Flying Spaghetti Monsters.

Complaint 4:

“Who cares if 3% of the population who holds to an evil malignant destructive ideology becomes disloyal?”

I must say, it is statements such as these that truly test my patience and composure. Not only is this statement biased and misinformed, it is also disrespectful and should not even be an issue in this debate. The terms “evil,” “malignant,” and “destructive” are ALL ENTIRELY SUBJECTIVE. You may believe Satan is evil, but someone else may seek the same things in Him that you do in God. You may think certain forms of music are destructive, while the same music may have kept a teenager from committing suicide. You may disbelieve in unicorns, but others may pray to them nightly and want them to be added to America’s Pledge, too.

You then dared to assume the following: “Do you care if pedophiles become disloyal and act on their predatory ideology? Do you care if a religion that sacrifices children becomes disloyal to America? Of course not!”

Are you kidding me? While I may have a personal opposition to pedophilia, and may object to your nonexistent, purely theoretical religion of sacrificing children, I still care that both have an equal voice to their counterparts. Everyone deserves a voice, just like every ideology and religion and thought deserves a voice. Whether it’s morally correct or not is irrelevant—it still deserves to be heard.

Now, you then stated: “Especially as stated before the fact that Christians clearly will leave a country that does not serve God!”
America wouldn’t NOT serve Yaweh, but it also wouldn’t NOT serve any other God or lack thereof. I believe I addressed this in one of my previous arguments, and because I have already had to pare down my characters, I will move on.

Closing

So we have seen that all four of my opponent’s claims are untrue:

“Under God was placed into the Pledge to affirm our historical tradition, affirm our denial of atheism, elicit the maximum loyalty of the population and meets an irreligious definition.”
1. Affirm our historical tradition? What about traditions of the Bible, where animals were sacrificed in a similar manner to your theoretical, child-slaughtering church?
2. Affirm our denial of atheism? You’re not just denying atheism, you’re denying any atheistic, pantheistic, or polytheistic religion as well. Why not just accept all religions rather than denying the ones you don’t agree with?
3. Elicit the maximum loyalty of the population? Ridding the Pledge of “under God” altogether would allow complete loyalty of the population and return religion to the personal lives of citizens
4. Meets an irreligious definition? This is nonsense. Nothing can get much more religious than the word “God,” now can it?

I could continue to debate this topic for days on end, but in short, God has no place in the Pledge of Allegiance…And one can only hope that, in the near future, America will come to see the truth.
Before I end, I would like to once again thank my opponent for debating this topic with me. It has been very enjoyable debating with you, Gileandos, and I hope to engage in further debates with you in the future. Thank you for being so thorough in your responses and keeping me on my toes with every point; it truly has been a pleasure.

I’d like to end my argument with a quote by Christopher Hitchens:
“I am a strict constructionist and firm believer in original intent. This is why I believe that the Pledge of Allegiance, in its current phrasing, is two words too long."
Gileandos

Con

I want to cordially correct her on her banter about the pledge of allegiance being atheistic. She starts out and then summarily closes with Christopher Hitchens saying the pledge of allegiance is ‘too words too long’.

I find this bemusing! Hitchens argues consistently for a state hostile toward religion. I already affirmed that ‘No God’ would be anti-theistic. The absence of God from the pledge is obviously by definition properly atheistic, that is ‘without God’. She then, to my wonderment states such a definition means a cereal box is atheistic! Why yes, I believe that is even the mainstream philosophical argument of the day! Many notorious atheists are running around claiming anything that lacks god is atheistic. For example, the argument stands that ‘science is ‘atheistic’ because it does not need or concern itself with God to function.


My opponent needed to show us why taking God out of the Pledge is better and has failed to meet her clear burden.

This is compounded by the fact she has failed to deal with the clearly overwhelming GOOD reasons it should stay.

We saw my first positive contention:

- The pledge of allegiance’s clear purpose is to elicit the loyalty of the Majority population.

- To remove this statement of Under God, would do the opposite as the majority Christian population has historically chosen God over country. This is asking for open disloyalty to remove the phrase.

My second positive contention:

- The pledge of allegiance meets the definition of secular by the judicial branch, was instituted by both the executive and legislative branches of the government.

- No one is targeting this concept in the courts, knowing all branches of government affirm this definition of secular

- This statement of Under God also meets the affirmation test by the courts as a valid historical heritage and cannot be so challenged.


Given the power of these contentions my opponent needed to deliver an powerful line of argumentation that simply was not present.

Complaint 1:

My opponent states that no religion existed that sacrificed children?? This is in response to the clear concept that people my be equal but all ideologies are NOT equal.

“There has thus far been NO documented religion condoning the sacrificing of children…. however even if your claims were legitimate, such an ideology should still possess an equal voice to that of, say, Christianity.”

So my opponent here is factually erroneous and scary. Who could possibly affirm and ideology of child sacrifice or exploitation is on par with any wholesome moral ideology?

The great droughts of 1450-1454 led to massive sacrifice of children to
water deities. Telleriano-Remensis Codex.[1] Nothing to speak of other deities and Middle Eastern Molech and such. [2]

So my opponent is just plain wrong about history and she affirms that these should be held EQUAL? That is baffling.

She then proceeds to claim

A) Why should they be considered less?” Um, they butcher helpless children…

B) “There is no concrete set of morals that has not been derived from religion” Again factually wrong, Ten commandments?! - [3]

C) “Who should be delegated the authority to judge religions in this manner?” That was why our founding fathers setup an irreligious government run by the moral majority with checks and balances.

She follows up by stating:

“Who has the authority to say that pedophilia is wrong? While the majority of America would agree that this act is morally flawed, there is still a percentage that doesn’t; and that voice should be heard no matter what and considered equal to the voice of its counterparts. The same goes for religion.”

I shudder. This is exactly the concern that Christians cite with the following generation that does not have a source of objective moral values. Objectivity states that such ideologies are inherently evil.

Complaint 2:

So my opponent now states that atheism being ‘intertwined’ with communism should not give us pause…. Really?
- I cited Tortured Pastor, I cited Pope, I cite President Reagan who was not uncertain in any sense:

“Atheism is not an incidental element of communism, it is not part of the package, it is the package” [4]


Her attempt to justify atheism here is against the historical belief of our political leaders, who were VERY well acquainted with the ideologies that motivated the atheistic states. There are No people more acquainted with the driving ideologies than the executive and legislative branch that had entire agencies figuring out what makes them tick.

Reagan himself is credited with a major defeat of atheistic Russia. His ‘Evil Empire’ speech was abundantly clear. Atheism was the driving factor for the Evil Empire.

My opponent concludes this complaint with:

How do these examples do nothing to theism? The religions we are speaking of are monotheistic—a form of theism. If we’re going by this logic, then the millions of people killed by Communists you are speaking of wouldn’t have any effect on atheism either!

My opponent misunderstood my point. Even if all 'religions' show themselves inferior my opponent needs to show that mere monotheism (belief in divine creator, divine judge and objective moral source) is not obviously better than atheism (the lack of belief in a divine judge and objective moral source).

She failed to do this.

Complaint 3:

“Should we involve the possibility of unicorns existing in the way America is governed?

This is very sad and shows my opponent ignores claims distinctions.

Belief in a moral creator and divine judge:

Quantity and quantity of source decide the power of a claim.

Hundreds of millions of Theological scholars. An entire field of academia affirming God’s relevance and existence.

Unicorns…. Not so much.

Complaint 4:

“I must say, it is statements such as these that truly test my patience and composure.”

And

“The terms “evil,” “malignant,” and “destructive” are ALL ENTIRELY SUBJECTIVE.”

And

“pedophiliaI still care that both have an equal voice to their counterparts”

Disturbing. I again affirm:

“Do you care if pedophiles become disloyal and act on their predatory ideology? Do you care if a religion that sacrifices children becomes disloyal to America? Of course not!”

You clearly affirm they should have an equal voice. If this is the rational that you need to affirm “Under God” should be removed, I am worried.

Summary:

We again have seen that Pro, has not met the burden of proof here.

- She states that all ideologies are equal, yet continuously fails to show this with examples that do not detract from religion much less theism.

- She also cannot affirm that atheism, the denial of divine retribution and moral incumbency, resulting in the slaughter of 100 million people in a single century, should be recognized of equal value. We have seen Pastor, Pope and President all affirm the destructive ideology that is atheism.


To counter this baseless assertion:

- We see the pledge is secular and irreligious already.

- We see that the pledge honors our civil war history.

- We see also that the war on Atheism sparked such theistic actions to combat atheistic propaganda out of the Iron Curtain.

- The pledge does what it intends to do by eliciting the majority of the population to loyalty. There are so few people of multi-god faiths this ideal does not appeal to as to be irrelevant to be necessary to elicit their loyalty. Hindu’s have a God creator, Muslims, Christians, and Jews etc…

My opponent has not in anyway given us reasons that meet her burden to prove her resolution. We have seen powerful reasons to negate it.

Under God was placed into the Pledge to affirm our historical tradition, affirm our denial of atheism, elicit the maximum loyalty of the population and meets an irreligious definition.

I again thank my opponent for this fun topic on debate.

[1] http://archaeology.about.com...

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...

[3] http://www.bible-knowledge.com...

[4]http://www.godtheoriginalintent.com...'s%20Evil%20Empire%20Speech.pdf

Debate Round No. 4
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by Jessalyn 4 years ago
Jessalyn
Thanks for the input! I'll definitely take your suggestions into consideration.
I blame the poor format on myself, as this was my first debate and I wasn't sure how to organize it correctly.
Posted by mark.marrocco 4 years ago
mark.marrocco
RFD - Arguments-Cont: 2) Con's best response to the fact that a monotheistic-biased phrase is discriminatory is, again, composed of mere assertions that it is actually secular. But his definition of secular is laughably inaccurate, as Pro incisively demonstrated with various points, most notably the cereal box argument. Brilliant and accurate, as to be explicitly atheistic, the pledge would have to say "without God" and to be explicitly anti-thestic, as Con at one point claimed, it would have to explicitly say "against God." So, saying nothing about God, gods, the Cosmos, fairies, reincarnated cows, etc., etc. is the only way to actually have it fit the accurate definition of secular. That's it. Hope that helps both of you.
Posted by mark.marrocco 4 years ago
mark.marrocco
RFD - Arguments: Frankly, the layout in this debate was a bit of a disaster. First of all, we don't "complain" because complaining is whining. We "contend" because contending is arguing. Second, the format would have been better off being nonexistent than changing the way it did so much, because it made the specific points of contention difficult to follow, and I even think it made the main points get lost along the way. There were only two at first, before it got into a useless debate over which Ideologies were good and bad, and those were these: 1) The U.S. government is secular, and therefore the word "God" has no place in the pledge of allegiance to that government. 2) The words "under God" discriminate against all Americans of polytheistic, pantheistic, atheistic, and otherwise -theistic religions, or lack thereof. So the debate was decided on those two points for me. 1) Pro quotes Jefferson's rather unambiguous statement in favor of secularism. It even says, "make no law respecting an establishment of religion." Clearly, "under God" respects monotheistic religions exclusively, and therefore violates this intention. It clearly breaks the wall between church and state, and Con's best responses to this were mere assertions that it was actually legal and that the Government isn't actually secular because that was only stated explicitly by the Supreme Court, and they don't have any say over precedent. This is obviously wrong, factually and logically. The Supreme Court *sets* the precedents, and the government was already *intended* to be secular, according to Jefferson. Thus, the inclusion of the phrase "under God" opposes the original and present intentions of the government, regarding its secularity. ...
Posted by mark.marrocco 4 years ago
mark.marrocco
RFD - Conduct: Con wrote, "Who cares if 3% of the population who holds to an evil malignant destructive ideology becomes disloyal?" In direct reference to atheism. This is a blatant use of loaded, negative, language. Furthermore, it's offensive and ignorant. I'm not one to get offended, and believe me I'm not crying over this by any means, but I find it hypocritical coming from someone who subscribes to a religion that could easily be described that same way by an atheist as insensitive to other people's beliefs as yourself. Pro, however, was fair enough to give all religions and Ideologies a neutral hearing over the course of the debate. So that's the main reason it was unacceptable. However, it was also ignorant, as clearly more than 3% of the population hold beliefs different than that of Christianity. For instance there are plenty of Muslims and Jews here who are also monotheistic, but they don't call their God by the same name, so it could also affect them. Even if not, 3% of the population is still 9 million people marginalized, not exactly worthy of a "who cares?" So really, it's one thing to debate religious topics, but keep your opinions to yourself. Arguments and evidence. That's what you are supposed to put forward, that's all.
Posted by Gileandos 4 years ago
Gileandos
Of course too late for today!
http://www.huffingtonpost.com...

The courts just today July 6th, a day after the debate ended, upheld 'Under God' in the pledge, citing it is secular by definition and does nothing to establish a religion.

Even the courts affirm my line of arguments are powerful. The supreme court will never take this case now and it will be in the pledge for a long long time to come.
Posted by Gileandos 4 years ago
Gileandos
Winope,
Thank you for the most clear comment and the most correct assessment of the debate.
I have a question, as I love debating this topic.

How does the very argument, which prevents any detractors to bringing this to the judicial court system with anything close to a victory expected, not the most powerful detractor?

The purpose of the pledge of allegiance is to elicit maximum loyalty. It fulfills that purpose by affirming the nations ideals are in line with the maximum number of people? If this was not the case, any court system would give a 50/50 shot on the historical argument and secular argument, depending on lawyers skill and judges ability to follow argumentation.

This one sole argument keeps it out of the court system. Why do you feel it is not powerful?
Posted by Jessalyn 4 years ago
Jessalyn
Great, I changed it.
Posted by Gileandos 4 years ago
Gileandos
I would love to. Can you change the voting period to 3 months?
8 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Vote Placed by Axiom 4 years ago
Axiom
JessalynGileandosTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I found that since BOP rested on Jessalyn, Con did a sufficient job of refuting Pro's arguments. And Pro's assertion that theism is not secular holds no grounds on why God should be removed from the pledge of Allegiance. Either way a set of beliefs is being upheld and a set of beliefs is being asserted. As stated by Con in round 2 point 1. I also found his referal to precedent to be enough. I did find that Con made some poor arguments, but as he did not hold BOP, I don't hold him to blame.
Vote Placed by mark.marrocco 4 years ago
mark.marrocco
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Reasons for voting decision: See Comments. Might take me awhile to fully elaborate this one.
Vote Placed by Wnope 4 years ago
Wnope
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Reasons for voting decision: Though in principle I agree with Jess, she did not fulfill her burden of proof in arguing for why the status quo of American should be altered. While Gil's arguments were by no means spectacular, they sufficiently blocked pro from establishing BOP. If BOP were reversed, Gil would have lost by miles, but that's not the case.
Vote Placed by yboy403 4 years ago
yboy403
JessalynGileandosTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Both sides were respectful, and for the most part intelligible and easily understood. However, Con insists on calling atheism an "evil malignant destructive ideology" despite Pro clearly identifying other motives behind the murders carried out by Communist Russia. Con also insists that removing "under God" from the Pledge would show deference to atheism, despite the (correct, in my opinion) contention by Pro that this would merely be an equalizer.
Vote Placed by waterskier 4 years ago
waterskier
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Reasons for voting decision: Con is using an alternate version of history
Vote Placed by Stephen_Hawkins 4 years ago
Stephen_Hawkins
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Reasons for voting decision: It just got less and less convincing the more CON's argument strayed from world's actual history. The argument may have worked if promoting a theocracy, if it weren't for the fact that the argument itself seemed to be more self-criticising than anything else.
Vote Placed by Aaronroy 4 years ago
Aaronroy
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Reasons for voting decision: Many misrepresentations, Con is using some sort of alternative history, very unfounded, I advise heightened alertness while sorting through sources. Con also makes a very abysmal remark by claiming certain individuals should be treated as less-than-human in terms to rights. Very biased on cons side, the rest of the arguments are giving me a headache and can't sort through them at this hour. For now, conduct goes to pro
Vote Placed by Rockylightning 4 years ago
Rockylightning
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Reasons for voting decision: Con tended to use circular reasoning/assertion and his arguments did not hold as much weight. Also, was arguably more combative.