Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Standing Aside

Okay. Back to grousing at the media. The Seattle Times editorial board has a feature called "civil disagreements," in which two of their number make statements about something that's been in the news. Since each person has a couple of paragraphs to make their point, one after the other, it's a little bland. A point-counter point format would be more interesting. Oh, well.

But what gets to me about these is the cavalier way in which the topics are treated. One of the editors, Lynne Varner, seems prone to oversimplifying things, or not digging very deeply into them. In this exchange on the recent U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling concerning the Pledge of Allegiance, she states: "The divided court said the pledge doesn't violate the constitutional separation of church and state." (This ruling, she cheers, is "standing up for God.") But... that's not what the Los Angeles Times blog posting that she cites says.

In Thursday’s ruling, [...] the judges ruled 2-1 that Newdow and others who joined his lawsuit didn’t have standing to challenge the 1954 amendment to the pledge adding the words “under God” because no federal statute requires them to recite it.
Divided appeals court rules Pledge of Allegiance doesn't violate Constitution
Now, I'm not a lawyer, but even I know that the majority opinion, seems more to have dodged the question, than actually answered it. Ruling that plaintiffs don't have standing to bring a case doesn't speak at all to the merits of said case.

I'm crabby about this because topics like this aren't entirely trivial. Non-Christians in this country often feel that the majority is out to marginalize them, and are perfectly willing to ignore the Establishment Clause when it suits them to do so, while being constantly on the lookout for any government action that they feel does them short shrift. It's important that when such things are discussed in the media, that they're accurately portrayed, so that we, as the public can enter the discussion knowing what we're talking about.

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