2002-07-20 / Letters

Varied Religious Preferences

Varied Religious Preferences

Dear Editor;

The recent decision by a three-judge panel of the 9th circuit (West Coast) on the Pledge of Allegiance has caused a wave of concern among politicians including the U.S. Congress.

Those who have learned basic constitutional history know that Americans may not be coerced into reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. In the case of West Virginia v. Barnette, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that those who do not choose to recite the pledge could remain silent. Although the case was decided in the darkest days of World War II (1943), there is no evidence that this decision damaged our united effort to defeat the enemy.

Although we are not now in a state of war, the threat of domestic terrorism has put our constitutional rights at risk. The rights to habeas corpus, to consult an attorney and the confidentiality of the attorney client relationship have all been challenged. The courts and our politicians must not be diverted into unnecessary arguments.

In this time most of us find patriotic songs, display of the flag and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance helpful in maintaining our morals. Since Americans cannot be coerced into reciting the Pledge, it would seem no American should be coerced into saying those parts of the Pledge to which they do not subscribe. Recognizing the religious differences in our society we should certainly welcome the participation of those who do not subscribe to the words, under God, which were not found in the original Pledge of allegiance.

Our courts, politicians and press should recognize the varied religious preferences of Americans and move on to solving more challenging issues.

NORMAN SILVERMAN


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