Unappealing to a Higher Authority
The Supreme Court of the United States
In Re: Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow
Friend of the Court Brief
Respondent Michael A. Newdow does not believe that I exist. In the case before you, he sues to compel his daughter's school district to drop the words "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance, arguing that it violates the constitutional injunction against religious discrimination.
On one hand, the very fact of this brief -- which as you know simply materialized on your desks overnight and as you will discover is made from no earthly substance (it is, in fact, a paperlike material wrought from the skin of the gn!or'th, a horned ungulate existing only on the grassy plains of the fifth planet of the star Deneb) -- is prima facie evidence of my existence. It therefore constitutes persuasive proof that Newdow is wrong on the facts.
On the other hand, being wrong on the facts has never been a particular impediment to success before this court. Ref. Dred Scott v. Sandford, 1857 (slavery is okay); Plessy v. Ferguson, 1896 (separate is equal); Bush v. Gore, 2000 (the loser wins); etc.
More to the point, the right to be wrong is, inter alia, a hallowed principle of democracy. And so we must examine Newdow's underlying claim, as it pertains to a person's right to freely exercise his religion of having no religion.
We will address this once we have disposed of another matter, to wit: Why do you capitalize the first-person singular pronoun? The words "he" and "they" are not capitalized; why should "I" be? This makes it very difficult for Me to express Myself in the first person and still emphasize that I (you see the problem) am the deity. Accordingly, I request from this court a per curiam ruling that, henceforth, everyone refer to himself as "i." In return, I shall continue to sprinkle this amicus curiae brief with unnecessary Latin phrases and pompous legalisms, so as to keep lawyers employed.
Regarding the matter before this court: The respondent argues that compelling children to swear, under oath, that America exists "under God" is in some way an abridgment of one's right to deny Me. This is in error, for the reasons enumerated below:
(1) Children do not understand the meaning of the word "allegiance." Since the entire Pledge is predicated on this word, the entire Pledge is meaningless to them. You could have them swear allegiance to "Baal, the Summoner of Thunder," and no harm would attach.
(2) Since minors are proscribed from entering into contracts, their pledge of political fealty is unenforceable. Hence, it is not a legal pledge so much as a promise, like not spitting at one's sister. Since the proper forum for enforcement of such a promise is the woodshed, and not this or any other court of law, respondent's pleading must be denied on jurisdictional grounds.
(3) Even discounting (1) and (2) above, arguendo, the Pledge is unenforceable as a matter of law, since it is customarily recited en masse, in a rolling grumble indistinguishable from borborygmus, i.e. intestinal gas. No individual speaker can be identified, nor can any individual words. The Pledge is as legally moot as the mooing of a cow.
It is upon this last point -- the ritualization of the event in question -- that My argument ultimately rests. And despite the critical weaknesses in the respondent's case, as enumerated above, it is why he must prevail.
The words "under God" were initially inserted into the Pledge of Allegiance at a time when your democracy was attempting to emphatically distance itself from communism, a system outlawing belief in Me. Paradoxically, communism is also a system that espouses the political indoctrination of youths who are required to parrot incomprehensible ideological declarations in disgraceful, authoritarian public displays of thought control.
It is therefore argued by this Intervenor that the Pledge itself -- an unseemly, un-American exercise in extracting loyalty oaths from innocents -- is inimical to the principles upon which a free society rests, and should be stricken. I know I can count on you nine distinguished jurists to reach the right judgment. And when the Day comes, you can count on Me to do the same.
Gene Weingarten's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Chat with him online Tuesdays at noon at www.washingtonpost.com.