Friday, November 18, 2005

The Friday Furo Questus

Questus Furore - In For A Penny
Having failed in his attempts to purge the Pledge of Allegience of any possibel refernce to God, Michael Newdow has found another cause to get reporters to chase after him again. Yes, now he's going after "In God We Trust" on our money.

What the harm in this is, I couldn't say. I'm no royalist, but I have no problem spending money with Queen Elizabeth's portrait when I'm in Canada. Is this really an urgent issue, a crisis that demands refocusing from the troubles of a dangerous world to worry about? Hardly.

Why is Mr. Newdow tilting at this windmill? I have no idea. Sometimes I wonder if he is intentionally going about reinforcing every negative stereotype of both atheists and lawyers that exists, or if that is just a serendipitous effect of his crusades. A recent gem: He is claiming that atheists are second-class citizens, unable to hold public office. (Sorry, no link - I was unable to find a transcript. It was an audio clip played on the Glenn Beck radio show on Wednesday, November 16.)

Well, it turns out he is right - sort of. The states of Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas all have clauses in their state Constitutions stating that atheists cannot hold office. (You read that correctly - Utah is not one of them.) However, that violates the Constitution (no religious test) and the first amendment, and thus that language has been rendered about as effective and relevant as laws against fornication and regulations regarding the proper use of buggy whips.

However, I believe Mr. Newdow is correct that he will never hold public office. Not because the state of California forbids atheists from holding office (it doesn't) - rather, because he is a jackass to such a degree that even a field of endeavor as replete with jackasses as politics couldn't make room for Mr. Newdow and the gigantic chip he carries on his shoulder.

But if we need to remove "In God We Trust" from our currency in order to avoid the possibility of offense, why stop there? Indeed, the phrase "United States of America" is offensive to many...

Recommended Reading
Victor Davis Hanson, today in NRO: "War & Reconstruction"
A bewildered visitor from Mars would tell Washingtonians something like: "For twelve years you occupied Saddam's airspace, since he refused to abide by the peace accords and you were afraid that he would activate his WMD arsenal again against the Kurds or his neighbors. Now that he is gone and for the first time you can confirm that his weapons program is finally defunct, you are mad about this new precedent that you have established: Given the gravity of WMD arsenals, the onus is now on suspect rogue nations to prove that they do not have weapons of mass destruction, rather than for civilization to establish beyond a responsible doubt that they do?"

Jonah Goldberg: "Harry's Mirage."

A review of the new Johnny Cash biopic, Walk The Line.

Patrolling the Front
Been kind of quiet around here, lately. Is everything OK out there? Hello? Hopefully everybody's just busy...

Jamo's been trying to post daily, while I'm currently working off a week-long blogging hiatus. While I can't speak to the quality, the quantity has been prodigious...

Thought of the Week
"Unlike an animal, man is not told by drives and instincts what he must do. And in contrast to man in former times, he is no longer told by traditions and values what he should do. Now, knowing neither what he must do nor what he should do, he sometimes does not even know what he basically wishes to do. Instead, he wishes to do what other people do -- which is conformism -- or he does what other people wish him to do -- which is totalitarianism."
- Viktor Frankl

Churchill Quote of the Week
"A love for tradition has never weakened a nation, indeed it has strengthened nations in their hour of peril."
- Sir Winston Churchill


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