16th April 2011

“Never trust people who've only got one book.”

Billy Connolly

3 Responses to “16th April 2011”

  1. Dan Says:

    Excellent suggestion.

  2. Jeff Says:

    Sorry, but I’m a bit more finicky – I prefer at least one wall of a medium sized bedroom covered in books, with at least 5% science fiction, and if they can’t name a work by any one of Issac Asimov, Robert Heinlein or Frank Herbert, they’re questionable at best.

    IA’s Guide to the New Testament is chutzpa at it’s best, and Mr. Herbert’s commentary on the manipulation of the masses by religious means is brilliant.

  3. Jeff Says:

    Thought I’d post this, which i sent to CJ John Roberts, Jr, in early March. The only change is to remove my last name from the signature line.

    Mr. Chief Justice,

    I am quite sure, sir, that you have received much good natured ribbing, both from “civilians” such as myself and among your associates, about the, shall we say, hash you made of the presidential oath at President Obama’s inauguration. While this letter concerns that oath, I will confine such gentle prodding to the suggestion of a 3×5 card and large type. Sir, there is nothing to be gained by trusting it to memory.

    However, there is something to be gained by a stricter adherence to the text. I should think that as a self-proclaimed strict constructionalist, you of all people would be loath to modify the words of the Constitution in any way shape or form, despite all convention and/or tradition, and yet, regardless of your verbal blunder, you added four traditional but extra-constitutional words to that oath at the end. If you consult the text, you will see that they were specifically NOT included, and despite what President Washington did, they are not needed and quite specifically NOT required, and may, in fact, constitute an offense against Article VI, Paragraph 3.

    How so, you may well ask. Sir, I turned down the chance to serve my country at 17, completely on the basis of those four words. You see, for me to utter them in the form of an oath would constitute a lie, and my personal honor would not allow me to do so, even at the cost of a berth at Annapolis. Under Title 10, Subtitle A, Part II, Chapter 31, §502, those words are mandatory for enlistment in the US Armed Forces. If you are aware of the saying “There are no atheists in foxholes”, now you know why. It is not that our beliefs cannot stand up to fire, as so many would have you believe, sir. It is because we are barred from serving by an extra-constitutional religious test which would force us to lie in order to serve. Contrary to popular belief, such was specifically not the case until 1962, when the current oath was adopted in a last spasm of McCarthyism, to keep godless communists out of the service. I believe words to that effect are included in the legislative history of the act, and would make the inclusion of those words such an offense against Article VI. I leave the research to your clerks. Since I have been unable to determine a path by which I might bring the case before you, of course this is merely for your edification.

    Since all oaths other than the President’s include such language by law, I am not only barred from military service but from all other positions requiring an oath. Frankly, sir, anything less than the deletion of such text will not serve, as an alternate form is a violation of the doctrine that separate but equal in public accommodation is inherently unequal, and if you think otherwise, it can only be because you are with the 90% (give or take a bit) majority on this question. Living in a small county in Ohio, where, because of the relatively small voter pool, my name is selected for jury duty on a regular basis, I must live in fear. The Ohio code provides for an alternative, but would you threaten yourself with perjury? I will not. If my oath is not good enough, then they can throw me in jail for contempt, for frankly, I find the wording of the alternative contemptuous of me, and as a sovereign citizen, I will not brook that from the government of either my state or my country.

    When will the religious of this country get it through their heads that until I am as free in my lack of religion as they are in their beliefs, their freedom of religion is in constant jeopardy?

    Thank you for your time, sir.

    Sincerely

    Jeff

    P.S.: Think of how many other ways this nation shows contempt for my beliefs, sir. Frankly, I can’t even earn a buck without having my nose rubbed in what the majority thinks of me. “In God We Trust”? WE don’t.

    JDP