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Is it just my reaction, or does this really seem nuts?

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823499.  Mon Jun 13, 2011 9:15 am Reply with quote

What's more, the 'under god' bit was only added in 1954. The Founding Fathers envisioned a secular country where people of all faiths or none would be equally welcome. Way to reverse progress.

823502.  Mon Jun 13, 2011 9:37 am Reply with quote

Quite - I understand (via Wiki) that when JWs raised concerns about the Pledge in the 40's (so even before the 'under God' bit was added), there was something of a violent response.

The broader, 'religious freedom' thing also seems to not quite get afforded the same generous accomodation when one steps outside Christianity that freedom of speech earns, despite them both being in the same Amendment.

Even if we set to one side the protests about the mosque on Park Place, Manhattan - there has been a tide of outrage at people having the temerity to pracitice Islam, with protests at mosque constructions and enlargements from Tennessee to California.

I also see that Oklahoma had a stab at making Sharia illegal, whereas England (with it's state religion intact) allows certain civil cases to be heard in Sharia courts when both parties agree.

823504.  Mon Jun 13, 2011 10:16 am Reply with quote

The American references are to "God". Not to a Christian God, or a Jewish one, or a Muslim one.

England's head of state, in contrast, is required in the Coronation Oath to maintain in the UK not just Christianity, but Protestantism in particular.

And there are mosques all over the US. There were protests about a mosque being built near the site of the World Trade attack -- attacks which were carried out in the name of Islam. No one has said that building the mosque is illegal, just insensitive.

But what has that got to do with anything? People have the right to protest in the US. I understand that people in the UK occasionally protest also.

823508.  Mon Jun 13, 2011 10:46 am Reply with quote

clack wrote:
The American references are to "God". Not to a Christian God, or a Jewish one, or a Muslim one.

Exactly. So one must either accept the existance of an invisible friend or be excluded from the declaration of independance and the pledge of allegience to this so-called "secular" country. That seems strange.


823525.  Mon Jun 13, 2011 12:06 pm Reply with quote

And there are mosques all over the US. There were protests about a mosque being built near the site of the World Trade attack -- attacks which were carried out in the name of Islam. No one has said that building the mosque is illegal, just insensitive.

People said a lot more about the Manhattan mosque than it was 'just insensitive' - but I picked out Tennessee and California specifically, as I was already aware of protests against either the construction or expansion of mosques in those states.

And, if we are going to suggest that the attacks being carried out 'in the name of Islam' is a legitimate reason to victimise all people of that faith, then surely the actions of the Army of God and those like them would be just cause to halt the expansion of churches too, yes?

FWIW, I live within 100 yards of a mosque here in North London. For many years, their building was essentially a structure more akin to a scout hut, or temporary classroom. A couple of years ago, they put in a planning application to build a brick structure.

The initial plans included a minaret that would have stood a full floor above the surrounding buildings, and there was some objection to that - and the plans were duly altered. Past that, the only major concern in the local community was a typical London response - 'where will they all park?'

One thing there most certainly wasn't, however, were scenes like this, from Tennessee;

Like others posting here, I'm a big fan of America - it's has been home to some remarkable, creative, innovative people, including many of my heroes. But it would be wrong not to acknowledge that it is also home to a disconcerting mass of ignorant, reactionary, narrow-thinkers with a misplaced sense of entitlment, jingoism and crushing lack of awareness of their own history.

Similarly, I'm not going to suggest that these people don't exist in the UK - but, fortunately, our politicians don't have to pander to them quite so much to get elected.

823526.  Mon Jun 13, 2011 12:07 pm Reply with quote

TBH, I have no problems with God mentioned in the oath of allegiance for the moment, it reflects how people ni the US feel.

At the same time, would we change the national anthem of the UK from God Save the Queen? I don't think so. And I think I would welcome either the national anthem or oath of allegiance benig recited in schools, if only because it's a ways of telling all the kids "OK, shut up now and do as you're told" :)

823541.  Mon Jun 13, 2011 1:09 pm Reply with quote

it reflects how people ni the US feel.

It reflects how some people in the US feel. Of course, if anyone lobbied for a change back to the original, they'd not only be denounced as an atheist (few things are worse to be in the US; Americans would rather vote for a gay or lesbian presidential candidate than an atheist) but as unpatriotic, which is nearly as bad.

As for God Save the Queen, I'd certainly change it, removing all mention of god, and indeed the Queen. Keep the monarchy if you must, I'd just be happy if we got rid of the sycophantic dirge that passes for a national anthem. Land of Hope and Glory please.

823543.  Mon Jun 13, 2011 1:17 pm Reply with quote

So -- there is no BNP? They don't demonstrate against Islam, or immigration in general?

I don't object to criticism of the US. However, I do object when it comes from a sense of unwarranted cultural superiority.

As in : oh, the Yanks are such god-botherers, they have 'In God We Trust' on their coins. We, the English, are above such things.

While on your currency there is the motto ' ELIZABETH II DEI GRATIA REGINA FIDEI DEFENSOR' -- Defender of the Faith. Not even something as generic as 'God' is invoked, but rather a very particular Christian sect.

It's so weird. Like a man with a limp being mocked by someone in a wheelchair.

823544.  Mon Jun 13, 2011 1:17 pm Reply with quote

Southpaw wrote:
Land of Hope and Glory

Which calls for the expansion of Empire, quite apart from mentioning God. I'm not sure that it would be seen as any more acceptable by those who reject God save the Queen.

823549.  Mon Jun 13, 2011 1:27 pm Reply with quote

It's not the mentioning of god I object to tbh, it's the saving of the queen. Now, I'm all for saving people, the queen no less than anyone else, but why is the national anthem all about it? I just think the national anthem should celebrate the nation, not the increasingly meaningless monarch.

823576.  Mon Jun 13, 2011 2:25 pm Reply with quote

God save the Queen, has long irritated Scots, not with much basis in fact the unofficial addition

Lord grant that Marshal Wade
May by thy mighty aid
Victory bring.
May he sedition hush,
And like a torrent rush,
Rebellious Scots to crush.
God save the King!

was written anonymously during the '45.

As a Scots/Englishman I personally would prefer Jerusalem as the English anthem and something other than Flower of Scotland for the Scottish one, it is such a dirge!

823577.  Mon Jun 13, 2011 2:26 pm Reply with quote

About the pledge of allegiance, I said it five days a week for many years as part of going to a public school. Thing is, you're not at all forced to say it. Quite a few people didn't even stand up for it, much less said it. I myself left out the "under G_d" bit for religious reasons (and thus why I've replaced the o with _). I grew up not too far from Murfreesboro, TN (a couple of hours up I-24)*, but honestly--no one cared who did or did not say all or some of the pledge of allegiance. Now, if I had made a big stink saying it was harming me and/or my religious freedom, yeah--I would've made some Bible-thumping enemies in a hurry. But it wasn't, so I didn't.

Anyway, working with refugees to help them become citizens, we teach them the pledge of allegiance. We go to great lengths to explains the litany of less than concrete ideals contained therein. We've never had a single refugee object to any of the content. We've got Protestants, Catholics, Mormons, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and a few atheists in the program. No one seems bothered at all, and they do indeed understand what they're saying.

*In all honesty, there is a noticeable cultural shift depending on which side of Nashville you are--north or south. North is not as scary. South is more reminiscent of Deliverance. :\

Spud McLaren
823578.  Mon Jun 13, 2011 2:28 pm Reply with quote

Efros wrote:
... I personally would prefer Jerusalem as the English anthem ...
Ooooh - very emotive tune! Can't hear it without welling up.

Similarly I vow to thee, my country.

I'm NOT speaking about the words here, just the tune and arrangement.

823581.  Mon Jun 13, 2011 2:31 pm Reply with quote

Jerusalem is emotive, and I too couldn't give a crap about the words.

Alternatively we could go for Billy Connolly's idea of using the theme from the Archers.

Tum ti tum ti tum ti tum...

823583.  Mon Jun 13, 2011 2:34 pm Reply with quote

Billy's take on the national anthem.


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