The Instigator
mrspenc2
Pro (for)
Winning
21 Points
The Contender
Nails
Con (against)
Losing
14 Points

Religious references should be removed from national obligations.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
mrspenc2
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/4/2009 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,223 times Debate No: 9937
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (10)
Votes (5)

 

mrspenc2

Pro

By definition, an obligation is "an act or course of action to which a person is morally or legally bound." Meeting this formal definition is the act of pledging allegiance to the United States flag, to which a person is morally bound as an American citizen, and the act of using the legally required US currency. A resounding problem concerning these two national obligations is the reference to God that they both contain. There are other obligations that have the same issue, such as swearing on the Bible when speaking in court, but for the purposes of this debate, "national obligations" will be limited to the Pledge of Allegiance and US currency. Their "religious references," quite obviously, are the use of the words "under God" in the Pledge and the words "In God We Trust" appearing on US paper money and coinage.

The term "under God" was officially added to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954 under the presidency of Eisenhower. Eisenhower had attended a sermon by the Rev. Docherty where the reverend claimed that the Pledge was missing the "American spirit," which was purportedly represented by the use of the term "under God" in Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. The day after hearing the sermon, Eisenhower got the bill in motion to have those words added to the Pledge (1). Taking this basic history into consideration, the presence of "under God" at the very best is a dignified quote from the Gettysburg Address. However, as linguist Geoffrey Nunberg, professor at UC Berkeley School of Information, has pointed out, to people living in the time of Lincoln, "under God" meant "God willing" (1). Its current use in the Pledge is therefore a misquotation that would not be readily understood by Lincoln and his contemporaries.

The main issue with the statement "under God," however, lies in the fact that it endorses Christianity as the true religion and God as the true religious power. This poses a problem for Americans that are not Christian, and particularly Americans that are atheists. In 2002, the phrase was ruled as an unconstitutional endorsement of monotheism when the Pledge was required in public schools, in a case brought about by Michael Newdow. This ruling was overturned in 2004 when it was shown that Newdow was not the legal guardian of the child for who he was speaking in the case, but the ruling was then later reestablished in 2005. Requiring the Pledge in public school was deemed a violation of the right to be "free from a coercive requirement to affirm God" (1). As this ruling demonstrates, having the phrase "under God" in the Pledge violates the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment, which states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." (2). While the average American that is past school age is not legally required to say the Pledge of Allegiance, it is their moral obligation as an American to recite the Pledge and show their patriotism whenever the opportunity arises. Therefore, having God referenced in the Pledge is, in fact, stifling freedom of religion and promoting Christianity. If the phrase "under God" is unconstitutional for use in the public school system, then it logically follows that the phrase is also unconstitutional for use in the general public. The phrase should be removed from the Pledge.

"In God We Trust" first appeared on the two cent coin in 1864. It was added to the coin as a response to the overwhelming increase in religious sentiments during the Civil War. The phrase later appeared on paper currency in 1957, three years after the addition of "under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance (3). According to James Howell Moorhead of the Princeton Theological Seminary, during the Civil War, when the phrase was first added to United States currency, Protestants "still enjoyed a significant numerical and cultural dominance" (4). It therefore makes sense that the phrase was added. However, according to the United States Religious Landscape Survey, only 51% of Americans self-identified as Protestant in 2007. While 78.4% of people did identify as some form of Christian, 16.1% of Americans considered themselves unaffiliated with any religion (5). This is certainly not the majority of the United States population, but it is a significant amount of people that should not be ignored. Numerically, in 2007 there were about 48,507,744 religiously unaffiliated people who would potentially take offense to references to God on US currency (6). Since the rise of Protestantism is what initially prompted the addition of "In God We Trust" to US coinage, and Protestants are rapidly losing their majority status, "In God We Trust" should be removed from United States coinage and paper money.

Many people would argue that the main reason that these phrases persist in American culture is because America was founded as a Christian nation, so these religious references are merely a patriotic gesture toward the founding of our country. Although the Puritans that settled in North America in 1630 were Christian, the reason that they migrated to America in the first place was to escape both religious persecution and religious homogeneity. According to the Library of Congress, "The religious persecution that drove settlers from Europe to the British North American colonies sprang from the conviction...that uniformity of religion must exist in any given society" (7). I would argue that allowing God to permeate our national obligations is in effect attempting to create the same uniformity of religion that our pioneers were condemning and escaping from. Therefore, although the United States was founded by Christians, it was never intended to be a fully Christian nation. For the previously mentioned reasons and for this reason in particular, "under God" should be removed from the Pledge of Allegiance and "In God We Trust" should be removed from United States currency.

(1) * http://en.wikipedia.org...
(2) * http://en.wikipedia.org...
(3) http://www.ustreas.gov...
(4) http://nationalhumanitiescenter.org...
(5) http://religions.pewforum.org...
(6) http://www.census.gov...
(7) http://www.loc.gov...

*Note: I would not normally cite wikipedia as a completely credible source, but seeing as debate.org itself cites wikipedia as reliable (see the "Tips" link underneath the Argument box when creating a debate), I assumed that it would be a good enough source for this informal debate venue.
Nails

Con

========
Contention 1
========

"for the purposes of this debate, 'national obligations' will be limited to the Pledge of Allegiance and US currency."

The two religious references that PRO wants to abolish are not national obligations, and thus abolishing them does not affirm the resolution.

A. Moral Obligation

Moral
Of or relating to the principles of right and wrong in behavior [1]

This one is logically contradictory. We have no moral obligation to act wrongly ever. To act wrongly is to act immorally, so we can't be 'morally obligated' to act immorally. In so far as this is true, my opponent is in a double bind.

If he can't prove that they are immoral, there's no reason why we would remove them.
If he does prove that they are immoral, then we don't have a moral obligation to them in the first place.

B. Legal Obligation
There is no legal obligation to do endorse either action my opponent has listed.

The pledge is not mandatory. You are required to stand and show respect if you are in public schools, but you are not required to ever recite it.[2] Further, if simply hearing it or standing for it is too much for you to bear, you could always opt out of the public school system for private or home schooling. There is certainly no 'national obligation' to say the pledge.

Second is the issue of money. I have no national obligation to use the nationally established currency; there are many other methods of transaction in modern society. Further, simply using money doesn't signify anything about me. If I went to the Middle East, I would have no qualm using their currency, though I certainly am not a Muslim. It's currency, nothing more. Spending American money isn't a duty of citizenship and it certainly doesn't signify anything about you. I might hate George Washington; it wouldn't stop me from spending one dollar bills.

========
Contention 2
========

These statements simply indicate the beliefs of most Americans.

We live in a democratic society where the government's job is to enforce the will of the people. Thus, remarks such as 'In God We Trust' don't refer to the government, as it is not some ruling class or family. It refers to the general society. It makes sense, then, that if the majority of society agrees with Christianity, and it does, [3] then the government is justified in its actions. Further, 62% of Americans actually do consider Christianity the official religion of the United States. [3]

========
Contention 3
========

Expressing Christian beliefs does not suppress freedom of religion.

PRO claims "having God referenced in the Pledge is, in fact, stifling freedom of religion and promoting Christianity."

This is absurd logic. Me promoting my religion does not infringe on somebody else's ability to promote theirs without persecution. Should we stop people from saying "Christmas" or "Easter?" Should we shut down churches? How about we rescind the Declaration of Independence? Of course not!

If I walked down the road to the park and said "I submit to the will of Allah" I would be openly showing Muslim beliefs (in reality, a Muslim I am not.) Does that stop the people in that park from being Christians or Jews of Buddhists or Hindus? Not in the slightest. Simply advocating Christianity in general practice is far from persecuting those of other religions or stopping them from worshipping in whichever way they want to.

========
Contention 4
========

Outlawing Christian views to protect Freedom of Religion is self-contradictory.

We can't say "We should stop people from practicing religion X because it infringes on religions Y and Z."
In order to protect the freedom of religion of some, we are sacrificing the freedom of religion of others.

We can't suppress Christian views as my opponent would have us do in the name of freedom of religion. If he wants to advocate such an act, he will have to do so under the banner of 'absence of religion.'

======
Sources
======

[1]http://www.merriam-webster.com...
[2]http://www.zimbio.com...
[3]http://www.dakotavoice.com...

=====
Closing
=====

I'm looking forward to this debate and I wish my opponent good luck. I'm surprised in finding that I have over 2,000 characters left. Usually I am scrambling to meet the 8,000 limit. Unfortunately I will be occupied all of tomorrow, so this will have to suffice. It should be sufficient to earn a CON ballot.
Debate Round No. 1
mrspenc2

Pro

In response to contention 1A, my argument has nothing to do with the morality or the immorality of the words "under God." My argument lies predominantly in the idea of the political correctness of the term being present in the Pledge of Allegiance. One of the ways in which Americans can show their patriotism and love of country is through reciting the Pledge, and a bias toward the Christian religion with the term "under God" could limit non-Christian Americans from showing their patriotism through this method. I have shown that Protestants are rapidly losing their majority status in the US. Additionally, the amount of Americans that self-identify as Christian has steadily been decreasing since 1990, from 86.2% to 76.0% of all Americans in 2009 (1). This is why "under God" should be removed from the Pledge, not because of the immorality of the phrase.

The only mention of morality that was present in my argument was that saying the Pledge of Allegiance was an American citizen's moral obligation. It has been found that America is the most patriotic of all countries in the world, as 90% of Americans would rather be a citizen of the United States than any other country (2). Therefore, most Americans would agree that showing their patriotism was the right thing to do, as we are the most patriotic country in the world. Using your definition of moral, "Of or relating to the principles of right and wrong in behavior," showing your love of country by saying the Pledge of Allegiance is a moral obligation, as it is a right behavior of an American to be patriotic.

In response to contention 1B, as I mentioned and you then pointed out, there is no legal obligation to say the Pledge. Again, as I mentioned and you then pointed out, saying the Pledge is no longer required in public school systems. However, with the issue of money, there is a national obligation to use the United States currency. Yes, there are other methods of transaction, such as bartering. But unless you are living completely off the grid, you are obligated to use money to pay for things such as electricity and water, not to mention the house in which you are living. It is estimated that only 180,000 households live off the grid (3). Using the Census Bureau's 2008 household estimates, that is 0.14% of American households (4). Even for these 0.14% of households, they are able to live off of the grid because of their possession of solar panels or windmills. Off-grid.net estimates that an advanced solar system will cost you $25,000 in United States currency (3). It is a legal obligation to use our national currency.

In response to contention 2, I never stated that the phrases "under God" and "In God we Trust" referred to the government. I agree with you that it is a reflection of society and the American people. I have shown multiple times that the amount of Christians in America has consistently decreased, particularly since the time when these phrases were added to their respective documents. Your reference stated that 62% of Americans view Christianity as the official religion, but it also stated that this number is down from 69% in 2008 (5). This is yet another trend that shows the decline of Christianity in America. Since these phrases are a reflection of the society, and the society no longer has a significant majority of people agreeing with Christianity and the number is ever declining, the Christian-supporting phrases should be removed.

In response to contention 3, promoting a particular religion in and of itself does not inhibit the practice of another religion. The issue comes into play when a particular religion, in this case Christianity, is promoted by such prevalent, essentially American items such as the Pledge and the national currency. You are correct when you say that if a person disagrees with the words "under God" in the Pledge, they can opt to remain silent. However, this restricts them from demonstrating their patriotism. They are put in a dilemma where they must choose between their country and their religion. Religion should not limit a person's patriotism. Additionally, being constantly reminded that your religion, or lack thereof, is not nationally endorsed is bound to be discouraging. Being faced with the endorsement of God every time something is paid for does not inherently limit someone from disbelieving in the Christian God, but it is publicity for the Christian religion. By advertising Christianity but not other religions or the atheist viewpoint, freedom of religion is being stifled by reducing the choices that are present. Essentially, a forced dichotomy is created. With only the mention of God present, you must choose whether or not to believe in Christianity. This is opposed to a true freedom of religion, in which you may choose to believe in Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Wicca, et cetera. To make my point clearer, if I asked you "Do you like the color blue?", your response can only be yes or no. If I asked you "What's your favorite color?", you have a limitless amount of options. By removing references to God in the Pledge and in US currency, the false dilemma of Christianity is removed and true choice with regards to religion can occur.

As a side note, in your third contention, you employed the reductio ad absurdum argument, committing the fallacy of reducing a claim to absurdity. My argument does not deal with the words Christmas and Easter, does not refer to closing churches, and certainly does not deal with abolishing the Declaration of Independence. Let's try to stay topical.

Finally, in response to contention 4, I never suggested outlawing or suppressing Christian views. This contention has already been partially addressed toward the end of my response to contention 3. Removing God will not sacrifice the freedom of religion of Christians or damage their right to their beliefs in any way. It will simply no longer promote Christianity, and will therefore lead to a higher degree of freedom of religion in the United States. You have attempted to argue the point that the endorsement of Christianity in the Pledge and on currency does not stifle the freedom to practice other religions. Although I disagree with this statement, let's pretend that I accept it. If Christianity being present does not hurt any other religion, then certainly by Christianity being absent, Christianity itself will not be damaged. Whichever reasoning you choose, all evidence supports removing the phrases from the Pledge and US currency.

(1) http://en.wikipedia.org...
(2) http://www-news.uchicago.edu...
(3) http://www.off-grid.net...
(4) http://www.census.gov...
(5) http://www.dakotavoice.com...

Thank you for such a thoughtful response. I look forward to the next round.
Nails

Con

========================
The Pledge of Allegiance is Irrelevant
========================

All arguments about the Pledge of Allegiance are irrelevant to this debate.

1. The resolution is: - - - - Religious references should be removed from national obligations.
2. My opponent stated: - - an obligation is "an act or course of action to which a person is morally or legally bound."
3. My opponent stated: - - my argument has nothing to do with the morality or the immorality of the words "under God."
4. My opponent stated: - - there is no legal obligation to say the Pledge.
5. Thus, from 3 & 4: - - - -The Pledge of Allegiance is not an obligation.
6. Thus, from 1 & 5: - - - -Altering the Pledge of Allegiance does not affirm the resolution.

==========================
Coinage and Paper Money are Irrelevant
==========================

This is the exact same argument as above, except my opponent has not conceded #4.

PRO argues that using money is somehow a legal obligation. I suppose I'll ask him, then, to provide some law which requires us:
1. to Use United States currency
2. to use specifically paper money or coinage as opposed to other forms of payment (check/debit/credit/etc.)

Simply the fact that almost all households currently use paper money in no way makes it a legal obligation as my opponent claims.

=======
Conclusion
=======

My opponent has in no way affirmed the resolution. He gives us 2 examples, the Pledge and US currency, and says that we should remove religious references from them. Even if this is true, that is not the resolution that he has laid out for us to debate.

He needs to prove that religious references should be removed from national obligations. Removing references from the examples he gives is not an example of that.

========
Contention 2
========

My argument is that:
1. Such references refer to the society, not the government.
2. Such references are true of society.

He openly agrees with the 1st half when he says: I agree with you that it is a reflection of society and the American people.

He then makes an illegitimate rebuttal of the 2nd half.
He argues that the number is dwindling; he does not argue that Christians are not the majority.

Therefore my argument stands:
1. Such references refer to the society, not the government. (he openly concedes this)
2. Such references are true of society. (He fails to rebut this. 81% of the US is Christian, according to that same source)

===========
The Double Bind
===========

My opponent has put himself in a lose-lose situation, even if we disregard my 1st 2 contentions. He states:

"You have attempted to argue the point that the endorsement of Christianity in the Pledge and on currency does not stifle the freedom to practice other religions. Although I disagree with this statement, let's pretend that I accept it. If Christianity being present does not hurt any other religion, then certainly by Christianity being absent, Christianity itself will not be damaged."

PRO gives us 2 options:
1. Accept that endorsing a religion won't harm others.
2. Reject that endorsing a religion won't harm others.

If #1 is true, then my Contention 4 is false, but Contention 3 remains true.
If #2 is true, then my Contention 3 is false, but Contention 4 remains true.

This means you, as a voter, have two options:
1. Accept that freedom of religion is not violated.
2. Accept that PRO's argument is logically contradictory.

Both result in a vote for CON

======
Summary
======

So here is how this debate plays out:

1. The easiest way for you to make up your mind would be voting on my 1st contention.

He states in the opening paragraph of his Round 1 post that he is only arguing for removing religious references from the Pledge of Allegiance and US currency. Neither are national obligations. Therefore, he hasn't affirmed the resolution.

2. If you don't buy that, read my 2nd contention.

He agrees that the references should be representative of society. He doesn't disprove the fact that most of society accepts Christianity. Therefore, the references are correctly representing society. You can vote CON right here if you haven't yet.

3. If you didn't agree to that either, you can vote for me on the double bind situation that PRO voluntarily puts himself in.

He gives you 2 options for a decision. One affirms my C3, one affirms my C4. No matter which you choose to believe, he has lost. Either,
a. We aren't violating freedom of religion like he claims, or
b. He is contradicting himself in silencing religion to promote religion.

===================
As a Side Note to a Side Note
===================

There are 2 illogical arguments that my opponent makes. They really have no bearing on the debate, but I'll address them simply for the sake of making the truth known. Both are found under his rebuttal of my 3rd contention.

1. "If I asked you 'Do you like the color blue?', your response can only be yes or no. If I asked you 'What's your favorite color?', you have a limitless amount of options. By removing references to God in the Pledge and in US currency, the false dilemma of Christianity is removed and true choice with regards to religion can occur."

The logical fallacy here is that he, himself, creates a false dilemma. The underlying assertion in this is:
If we ask people to choose 'yes or no' to Christianity, they cannot choose other religions.

Here's the problem, he ignores 1/2 of the possible answers. Answering "NO" to Christianity (though I personally wouldn't advise it) doesn't restrict you to one option. Answer "NO" and your options remain limitless. You can use the same example that he gives:

If I asked you, "Is your favorite color blue?" does that stop you from having any one of an infinite amount of colors? No. If you answer "No, my favorite color is not blue" can you still have any favorite color at all? Yes.

Asking somebody "Are you a Christian?" in no way creates a false dichotomy as PRO would have you believe.

2. "As a side note, in your third contention, you employed the reductio ad absurdum argument, committing the fallacy of reducing a claim to absurdity. My argument does not deal with the words Christmas and Easter, does not refer to closing churches, and certainly does not deal with abolishing the Declaration of Independence. Let's try to stay topical."

He dismisses my example as irrelevant and even seems somewhat condescending about it in that last sentence. The problem is, he isn't even correct in the first place.

One word: Analogy

Obviously, my opponent never talked about Christmas. That's why I called it an example. Christmas and saying "under God" both reference Christianity. If religious references are bad, it would follow that Christmas is bad. Christmas is not bad, so religious references aren't necessarily bad. Please, don't dismiss my example so quickly.

---

Vote CON
Debate Round No. 2
mrspenc2

Pro

Your argument about the Pledge of Allegiance being irrelevant does not follow. The term "under God" is not synonymous with the Pledge of Allegiance. In my second round of debate, I have adequately shown why an American citizen would be morally bound to say the Pledge and therefore why the Pledge fits the definition of a national obligation that I have supplied. The morality of the words "under God" is not in question, and is irrelevant to this debate. It does not follow that simply because the morality of the words "under God" is not being discussed, the Pledge does not fit the definition of national obligation. Again, "under God" is not synonymous with the Pledge of Allegiance. This fact only adds to the reasons for its removal.

Much with the Pledge as a moral obligation, you have failed to argue that using the United States currency is not a legal obligation. You asked me to provide an instance where we would be required to "use specifically paper money or coinage as opposed to other forms of payment (check/debit/credit/etc.)." Check, debit, and credit are all representatives of the legal US currency when used in transactions. A credit card purchase is simply an agreement that the credit card company will pay for your purchase now and you will reimburse them later, through check, debit, or cash, so the particular example of a credit card purchase need not be discussed. Check and debit are essentially the same, as they both immediately transfer money between bank accounts, so I will treat them jointly. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation provides deposit insurance of up to $250,000 per depositor per bank. In the case of a bank's insolvency, there are two methods with which the FDIC can pay out this insurance: a) The Purchase and Assumption Method, in which all deposits are assumed by an open bank, or b) The Payout Method, in which insured deposits are paid directly to the depositor (1).

In the case of an unavoidable economic crisis that causes all or most banks to become insolvent, people will cease to have bank accounts and will not be able to use check or debit as forms of payment. The FDIC will reimburse their losses of insured deposits through cash, and they will be forced to use cash as the only form of transaction. Since you have not mentioned bartering as a viable form of transaction in the United States, I assume that you agree with me on that point. Since bartering is not viable in our current society, and checks, debit, and credit are representative of paper money and insured by paper money, it follows that our economy is based on the transfer of paper money and coinage, making the United States currency a legal obligation.

In response to your conclusion, the issues of the Pledge of Allegiance and currency are not meant to be all-inclusive, as I stated in the opening paragraph of my first round of debate. My proposition was made intentionally to be broad, to allow for a wide array of interpretation and limitless options for the direction of this debate. You have contested that the Pledge and currency are not national obligations, so that is predominantly the direction in which this debate went. I have sufficiently answered these contentions. However, for all of your contentions, you never suggested other interpretations of the proposition, so you have added nothing else for inclusion in this debate. We are then left with my definition of the key terms and with the issues that I suggested we debate. Taking this into consideration, the resolution is that "under God" and "In God We Trust" should be removed from the Pledge of Allegiance and from United States currency, respectively. This resolution has been affirmed.

In response to contention 2, my argument stands that Christians, and Protestants in particular, no longer have a large enough majority for references to God to be warranted in national obligations such as the Pledge and currency. They represent 78.4% and 51% of the population, respectively (2). This still leaves 16.1% or 48,507,744 people in America that are religiously unaffiliated, not even mentioning Americans who follow other religions (2,3). Many other agencies have taken steps to remove religious references from things, such as public schools and universities referring to the break around Christmas time as "Winter Break," the break around Easter as "Spring Break," and the break around Good Friday as "Spring Holiday." (This also addresses your off topic points that you brought up in your reductio ad absurdum argument, and this is all I will respond in regards to that.) The same trend should be followed with the Pledge and currency; they should be made religiously neutral by removing their religious references.

In response to your supposed "Double Bind" situation, your argument does not have sound logic. The two options that you have presented based on my argument are: a) Accept that endorsing a religion won't harm others, or b) Reject that endorsing a religion won't harm others. Concerning choice a, which I do not agree with, if you accept that endorsing a religion will not harm the others that are not endorsed, then by having no religion endorsed, no religion will be harmed. Your contention 3 does remain true, as I stated that I would temporarily accept your contention 3 for the sake of the argument. Regarding choice b, which I am advocating, if you reject that endorsing a religion won't harm others, then having no religion nationally endorsed will alleviate the harm. Your contention 4 does not remain true. It would remain true if another religion were to be endorsed in its place, but by having no religion endorsed, no religion will be damaged.

Finally, there is a false dilemma created by having God referenced in these national obligations (and not a false dilemma created by me). The false dilemma does not lie in the dilemma of Christianity or no religion at all, as my opponent suggests, but in the dilemma of being for Christianity or against Christianity. My argument is that if you are not Christian, being constantly reminded at the sight of our currency that you are an outcast from the nationally endorsed religion is damaging, and could limit freedom of religion by coercing these people into supporting the Christian God. By removing God from currency, this false dilemma would be alleviated and free choice of religion can occur without the coercive hand of Christianity involved.

I have built an adequate case for removing religious references from the Pledge of Allegiance and United States currency.

(1) http://en.wikipedia.org...
(2) http://religions.pewforum.org...
(3) http://www.census.gov...

One last note--I am female. Be careful of your gendered language.
Thank you sincerely for your time and effort in this debate.
Nails

Con

"One last note--I am female. Be careful of your gendered language."

--Sorry for that. I thought your name was Mr. Spenc (short for Spencer.) I didn't consider it being Mrs. Penc.

====================
The Pledge is not an Obligation
====================

"I have adequately shown why an American citizen would be morally bound to say the Pledge"

--No she hasn't. I attacked the issue of morality in my 1st rebuttal. She defended herself by strongly asserting that her arguments had nothing at all to do with morality. She can't come back now and say "Just kidding!"

Even so, her original argument was simply that Pledging is a sign of patriotism and most Americans are patriotic.
1. We aren't morally obligated to be patriots.
2. Just extend my original argument (that she didn't rebut) that we can't be 'morally bound' to do something immoral.

With that out of the way, my previous syllogism still applies:
1. The resolution is: - - - - Religious references should be removed from national obligations.
2. My opponent stated: - - an obligation is "an act or course of action to which a person is morally or legally bound."
3. My opponent stated: - - my argument has nothing to do with the morality or the immorality of the words "under God."
4. My opponent stated: - - there is no legal obligation to say the Pledge.
5. Thus, from 3 & 4: - - - -The Pledge of Allegiance is not an obligation.
6. Thus, from 1 & 5: - - - -Altering the Pledge of Allegiance does not affirm the resolution.

====================
US Coinage is not an Obligation
====================

My opponent seems to have misunderstood my point. She points out that check/debit/credit are still forms of currency. She forgets that none of them are emblazoned with 'In God We Trust.' This means we can still use US currency without ever having to come in contact with such dread (though, in reality, innocuous) words.

More importantly, my opponent has given no law saying 'American citizens must use dollar bills.' There is not any sort of 'legal obligation' in any sense of the term. She has argued that because most people use these bills every day that they are somehow required in order to be an American. Almost all Americans own houses. Does that make having a roof over your head a legal obligation? Does that make the homeless less than American?

It stands that there is no law, no legal obligation, to use US coinage or paper money. This should be sufficient in and of itself. But further, my opponent and I agree that there are other forms of paper money that can be used, such as debit cards, checks, or credit cards. That's just icing on the cake.

=========
Majority Rule
=========

My opponent conceded that the phrases we are debating refer to society as a whole.
PRO has also conceded that the majority of Americans (78.4% according to her source) are Christian.

This seems enough for you to vote CON right there, but she makes the claim:

"Christians no longer have a large enough majority for references to God to be warranted"

Um, a LARGE ENOUGH majority?
She hasn't said:
1. What 'a large enough majority' is.
2. Why we need 'a large enough majority' as opposed to 50.1%.
3. Where she gets this idea of 'a large enough majority.'

It's not like Christians are 50.000001% of the population. According to PRO 78/100 Americans are Christians. That's 3/4. Look at presidency, the House, the Senate, a jury, anywhere people vote in general. How rare is it that actions need a 'majority' of over 3/4 to be justified? This is just her unwarranted, illogical assertion, which has no empirical justification whatsoever.

========
Double Bind
========

1. My opponent says: "I am advocating you reject that endorsing a religion won't harm others"

Again, my opponent has specifically said: "I agree with you that it is a reflection of society and the American people."

America is primarily composed of Christians.
Did the above sentence offend you? Does it warrant me being banned? No, it doesn't. It's a fact that my opponent and I agree on. It's what these phrases we are debating over say. They profess America's belief in Christianity. I don't see how saying so harms someone else's ability to practice their religion, and PRO definitely has not proved it.

2. Even if you don't buy that, there's still my 4th argument. PRO argues: "by having no religion endorsed, no religion will be damaged."

...except for Christianity. Christianity is no longer 'allowed' to be advocated publicly. It is deemed illegitimate, not worthy of being displayed in public. Seems to me like banning Christianity from making public appearances is bad, no matter what spin PRO tries to put on it. This means PRO still has this contradictory logic:

We should suppress Christianity to allow other religions to be practiced.
We should suppress freedom of religion to allow more religious freedom.

==========
False Dilemma
==========

Is your favorite color blue?

Oh my goodness, I'm such a terrible person. I've created a false dilemma! Apparently asking that question forces you to either have the favorite color blue or no favorite color at all. That's obviously not true, but PRO would have you believe it.

Simply asking whether someone is Christian does not in any way preclude them from practising any religion at all.

======
Summary
======

Easiest way for you to vote:
Neither of my opponent's only 2 examples are national obligations. She hasn't met her burden of proof at all.

If you don't buy that, then look at my 2nd contention:
PRO conceded these phrases represent our society, as well as that the phrases are true of society.

Then, if you still aren't convinced:
My opponent's case hinges on the idea that promoting Christianity somehow harms other religions when it doesn't.

Finally, even if you believe that that's true:
My opponent is contracting herself by stifling religion in an attempt to maintain religious freedom.

Vote CON.
Debate Round No. 3
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Nails 7 years ago
Nails
A good few votes, but no RFDs as of yet...just a bunch of people giving the full 7 every time.
Posted by mrspenc2 7 years ago
mrspenc2
M is my first initial, R is my middle initial. I realized after I posted it why he may have been referring to me as "he," but my gender is listed in my profile. Gender neutral terms are always appropriate, though.
Posted by isthereagod 7 years ago
isthereagod
mr. spenc2 or mrs. penc2, neither is obvious.
Posted by isthereagod 7 years ago
isthereagod
About the gendered language. Puhlease! if your name is mrspenc2( which looks like mr. spenc2 to me) what do you expect?
Posted by Puck 7 years ago
Puck
"Moral obligation may seem like a contradiction, but the definition of obligation that I used (an actual dictionary definition)"

Dictionary collators don't tend to take philosophy of ethics into consideration. A moral obligation is contradictory. It would be a bit silly to take your debate then just argue that point, since that isn't the purpose of your debate.
Posted by mongeese 7 years ago
mongeese
mrspenc2, are you arguing for all religious references to be removed, or just most? Depending on your answer, I might take this.
Posted by mrspenc2 7 years ago
mrspenc2
Moral obligation may seem like a contradiction, but the definition of obligation that I used (an actual dictionary definition), included an act to which a person is morally bound. Based on that definition, moral obligations do exist. If you don't agree, or don't see how the Pledge fits this definition, feel free to join the debate. :)
Posted by wjmelements 7 years ago
wjmelements
Pledge of allegiance != obligation.
Posted by Puck 7 years ago
Puck
It's not. :P Moral obligation is a contradiction.
Posted by leet4A1 7 years ago
leet4A1
"Meeting this formal definition is the act of pledging allegiance to the United States flag, to which a person is morally bound as an American citizen"

Why is this your moral obligation as an American?
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by mrspenc2 7 years ago
mrspenc2
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Vote Placed by RKiverso 7 years ago
RKiverso
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Vote Placed by Nails 7 years ago
Nails
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Vote Placed by ciphermind 7 years ago
ciphermind
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Vote Placed by atheistman 7 years ago
atheistman
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