San Francisco -- In a controversial ruling in San Francisco's 9th District Court Judge Larry Karlton declared today that America is no longer a nation "Under God." In his ruling, Karlton remarked that "American citizens are now free to move about the country unchained by the Ten Commandments, Catholic Guilt, Methodist Morals, or Krishna consciousness, and are free to pursue an utterly hedonistic lifestyle bounded only by the limits of "getting caught" and the rule of law. Karlton's ruling, intentionally or otherwise, left out any mention of Baptist admonitions against dancing, and drink, and Mormon prohibitions on ice tea. Hedonists across the country celebrated with what turned into near anarchy.
The Middle East battles over Allah vs. Yahweh, theocratic versus democratic forms of government, and in Northern Ireland, angry Protestants vs. rock-throwing Catholics. But in affluent America, it is continually questioned whether or not God even IS, despite his claim in the Bible, I AM. Aetheists argue the authenticity of the document, while English majors struggle with the participle pronoun chosen by the Almighty.
Karlton declared the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools unconstitutional Wednesday in a downhill battle against the words "under God." Some, if not many Americans feel God is no better than them, if not imaginary, and believe that reciting the phrase "under God," is demeaning to their intellect," ruled Karlton.
U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton ruled that the pledge should be a patriotic "ornament", not a religious "affirmation", and schoolkids should be allowed to substitute the phrase "Under our President and fearless leader, George Bush," rather than "Under God."
Karlton said he was bound by precedent of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which in 2002 ruled in favor of Sacramento atheist Michael Newdow that the pledge is unconstitutional when recited in public schools. Issuing the ruling, Karlton said, was a tremendous relief, perhaps indicative of insufficient fiber in his diet.
The Supreme Court ducked the "Under God" issue last year on a technicality since Newdow's ex had custody of the kids. They may not get away with it a second time, said God's spokesman and assassination designation specialist, Pat Robertson.
Karlton, ruling in The Castro, said he would sign a restraining order preventing the recitation of the pledge at Pinewood Elementary school districts in Sacramento County, where the plaintiffs' non-believing children attend.
A three-judge panel of that circuit ruled that the pledge is a patriotic exercise, similar to pushups, not a religious affirmation similar to prayer, and that simply mumbling or "not saying "Under God" was too much of a burden on schoolchildren with aetheistic parents, since the kids themselves generally don't care and do whatever they're told by Mrs. Beckett, known for rapping the knuckles of disobedient students.
"Undoubtedly, the pledge contains a religious phrase, and it is demeaning to persons of any faith to assert that the words `under God' contain no religious significance," Judge Karen Williams wrote using highly convoluted logic only a lawyer could come up with. "The inclusion of those two words, however, does not alter the nature of the pledge as a patriotic activity."
President Bush and his advisers have proposed re-writing the pledge as a form of "Loyalty Pledge" similar to what they required of individuals attending their campaign rallies in 2004, to ensure only submissive types unwilling to speak out attend. "Lord knows, we need more obedient and loyal citizens, said presidential advisor Karl Rove.