Thursday, September 15, 2005

Pledge of Allegiance Now Forbidden

This matter was recently tested in the Supreme Court and the case thrown out. But that has not stopped a California judge. News excerpt:

"A federal judge in California Wednesday ruled that reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools is unconstitutional. The case was brought by two families represented by Michael Newdow, an atheist whose case before the U.S. Supreme Court was thrown out because it was brought on his daughter's behalf and he did not have custody of her. In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton said the words "under God" violate the right of school children to be "free from a coercive requirement to affirm God." According to the Associated Press, Karlton said he was bound by precedent of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled in favor of Newdow in 2002.


I've looked up my copy of the U.S. Constitution as amended but there must be something wrong with it. Nowhere do I find where it says that Americans are to be "free from a coercive requirement to affirm God". But I guess I'm not from California. No doubt the ruling will now go to the Supreme Court.

Both Free Speech and Academic Freedom Under Legal threat

Voltaire once said: "I disagree with you but I will defend to the death your right to say it". There are not many Voltaires around these days. An Australian university professor has recently come under fire for opposing the intake of refugees from Sudan into Australia. He made his comments initially in a newspaper but he has elaborated his views in a sufficiently sound way for them to be accepted for publication in an Australian academic law journal. Read on (excerpt):

"A lawyer for Australia's Sudanese community has threatened a Victorian university with legal action if it publishes an article by a controversial Sydney-based law professor. Called `Rethinking the White Australia Policy?, the 6,800-word article was written by Associate Professor Andrew Fraser, who's been banned from teaching at Sydney's Macquarie University after making racist remarks. The Canadian-born academic wrote a letter to his local suburban newspaper in July, claiming Australia was becoming a Third World colony by allowing non-white immigration.... Lawyer George Newhouse today warned Deakin University to scrap plans to publish Prof Fraser's contentious views in its next law journal. ``I am shocked that a university would even want to publish something along these lines,'' he said. ``I put the university on notice that if they repeat the racial vilification, a claim for compensation may be made against the university and the editors that publish or republish this poison.'' Mr Newhouse said he had already commenced proceedings on behalf of the Sudanese Darfurian community in the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission."


The university that publishes the journal does not seem to be caving in to the threat so far but the whole thing is a good example of how only those things that accord with the official "line" can safely be said today. Stalin would approve.

Australia has a conservative government and its Minister for Multicultural Affairs is one John Cobb. Note the report below of some recent remarks by the good Minister (excerpt):

"The debate about Muslim headscarves did a 180-degree turn in Canberra yesterday, with Multicultural Affairs Minister John Cobb suggesting that all women should adopt a headscarf as a fashion item. In response to questions at the National Press Club, Mr Cobb said women in headscarves looked "fantastic", and he could see the item becoming a new trend. He was responding to questions about his rumoured attack on fellow federal Coalition MP Sophie Panopoulos for her outspoken criticism of Muslim women wearing headscarves in Australia.

The report does not seem to be online anywhere yet but it appeared in the Thursday, September 15, 2005 issue of the Brisbane Courier Mail (p. 7). Talk about pandering to Muslims! Since many Australians were massacred by Muslim fanatics in Bali not long after the 9/11 attacks on America, I think Mr Cobb's remarks really are "insensitive" -- but perhaps the minister was simply what journalists politely call "tired and emotional"

Just a Bit of Fun

A lot of readers emailed me to join in the fun of figuring out what the British police might mean by their description of someone as having "dual heritage". One reader wrote in to say they could have been talking about him since he was part American Indian and part Scot. Another reader has just dug up a picture of a guy in combined Indian and Scottish dress. I don't know whether it's the same guy but it is fun anyway. See here

(You can find my original post of Sept. 7th about halfway down here)