To the editor:
I see the U.S. House of Representatives has voted to strip courts of jurisdiction in "Pledge of Allegiance" cases.
Four years ago, when Michael Newdow briefly prevailed in his challenge to the words "under God" in the pledge, Congress members trampled one another to get in front of cameras, defending this paradoxical tradition of non-religious religion. They claimed it was no big deal, just meaningless "ceremonial deism," while they stoked a furor at hints it might be removed. So "under God" was trivial and vitally important at the same time, a typical bit of religionist hypocrisy, in the spirit of the hysterical red-baiting that put the phrase there in 1954.
Wondering where this "tradition" left American atheists, agnostics, polytheists or theists who believe God isn't political, I wrote to 13 of our national officeholders, including the senators from Kansas and the two representatives for Lawrence, to ask: "Am I a citizen of the United States in every sense that a theistic person is, entitled to full representation, consideration and protection under the Constitution?"
A basic civics question, which should have received a simple "Yes!" in every case. Not one leader answered the question; all ignored or danced around it. Sen. Brownback even asked me to pray for our country.
Right, it's "no big deal" I know, and I mustn't let second-class citizenship dampen my pleasure at being barely tolerated in theocratic America. No danger there.
Bruce S. Springsteen,