Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Pledge of Allegiance and Atheism

The "Pledge of Allegiance" was written in 1892 by a Baptist minister and socialist, Francis Bellamy. He accompanied the pledge with a salute, called the Belamy salute, which looked an awful lot like the Nazi salute. Because of this similarity, FDR did away with the salute during WW II replacing it with the placement of one's right hand on one's heart. It remains that way today.

The original pledge did not have the words "under God" in it. Since it was written by a minster I find this to relevant in that obviously he didn't think it was necessary. The words "under God" were introduced in 1954. Please note the upper-case G which means it is in reference to specific God and not a general term.

Generally, I wouldn't have a problem with this since I don't really care if someone believes in God (or god) or not. This is an individual choice. Since I don't believe in god in the slightest and haven't for several decades, I find it a little disturbing that we are still forcing children to recite this thing. This wouldn't bother me so much if the words "under God" weren't present. Many Americans are atheists or agnostics and have the right to bring up their kids however they choose. A pledge of allegiance to a nation where religion is a choice that has a the words "under God" seems to be a contradiction and extremely unfair to those tax paying individuals who disagree. I don't have any children but I find this to be an injustice regardless. By the time I was in high school, I already considered myself an atheist and would skip these two words while reciting the pledge. I suggest non-believers to do the same.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Cove

I've always wanted to attend Sundance Film Festival. One of the biggest hits this year was the documentary film The Cove. It is supposed to be part action/adventure and part horror film. It is about dolphins. It traces America's love for dolphins from the television show Flipper, to sea world, to dolphin therapy and eventually to the actual subject of the film, a cove off the coast of Japan in a quaint town called Taijii where dolphins are capture and slaughtered at an alarming rate. Over 23,000 dolphins are slaughtered annually in this cove. I hear the film is wonderful, exciting and horrible. Difficult to watch.

Louie Psihoyos's (the director) adventure to get to the cove is the exciting part. The cove is guarded 24 hours a day. You have to go through tunnels to get there. I hear it has a James Bond quality. What he filmed when he arrived at the cove, a place never filmed before, is the horrible part. When dolphins are slaughtered they scream. I'm not sure if I could take this, but a sense of duty as concerned Earthling binds me to seek it out.

Some of the dolphins are captured alive. A live dolphin can be sold for $150.00.00. If you've been to sea world, you probably have seen a dolphin that came from this cove. These are not only beautiful and cute animals but sentient creatures capable of thought, communication and self awareness.