Skip to comments.Pledge 'under God' uproar dividing Estes residents, recall election date to be set for trustee
Posted on 12/09/2004 12:52:41 AM PST by ajolympian2004
In Estes Park, there's discomfort on all political sides that the flap over a town trustee's refusal to recite the Pledge of Allegiance is redefining the community.
"Estes Park is becoming known as a town that wants to recall someone instead of as a tourist attraction," said Linda Wagner, a 12-year resident.
Trustee Lori Jeffrey-Clark succeeded in making the pledge part of meetings in May.
In September, Trustee David Habecker said he would stay silently seated during the pledge because the founding fathers wanted to separate church and state.
The pledge was written in 1892, but the words "under God" weren't added until 1954 during Sen. Joe McCarthy's witch hunt for godless communists, Habecker said.
Richard Clark, Jeffrey-Clark's husband, started a drive in November to recall Habecker and gathered enough signatures for a special election.
A date for the recall election will be set Tuesday.
Life in Estes Park is usually harmonious. In winter, there are few tourists and many of the summer residents have gone. Many businesses close.
Folks catch up on bookkeeping, chores and friendships and get ready for the holidays.
Not this year.
There's talk of business boycotts, secret agendas and grudges.
"It's gathered a lot of attention," said Lisa Pogue, news editor at the Estes Park Trail Gazette. "We get an abundance of letters on the issue every week."
Norm Pritchard helped gather signatures for the recall because he didn't think a public official should use dramatics to air a personal view.
But he agrees with Habecker on one issue - the rising political power of conservative Christians is troubling.
"Any fanatically religious group scares me, especially as a voting block," said Pritchard, who owns a bed and breakfast lodge.
And, when he was gathering signatures, Pritchard said many of the residents who signed did so for what he considers the wrong reasons.
"They thought it was unpatriotic," said Pritchard, who believes Habecker has a constitutional right to free speech but is going about it in the wrong way. "(Some petition signers) don't give a damn about constitutional rights."
The authors of the Constitution intentionally kept God out of the document and guaranteed the right to free speech.
In fact, the author of the Pledge of Allegiance, minister Francis Bellamy, presumably would have not wanted God in the oath, said Lief Carter, a professor at Colorado College.
"He supported a separation of church and state," said Carter, who has a law degree from Harvard and a doctorate in political science.
"He didn't want us to think of this as a country under God in the same way that Osama bin Laden thinks that what he does is the will of God," said Carter.
Wagner is voting against the recall because, "there's nothing more American than protesting." But she wishes the conflict would go away.
"It's almost depressing that our town is focusing on this, and the real business that we need to focus on - such as parking and the environment - is being ignored," she said.
You know, I could possibly see not voting for this guy again because of this, but does sitting down during the pledge for religious really justify the expense of a recall and subsequent special election?
I'm really glad to see that parking and the environment are equally weighty issues in Estes.
...maybe 'under allah' would work better for them...
The silent majority is wide awake in America. Red states will become redder and some of the blues will be flipped in the next election in 2008. The backlash against those like the ACLU who want remove 'God' from public view and thought has really just begun, in my humble opinion of course.
If he chose simply not to speak, I would suggest tolerance.
When an elected representative turns his back on the flag, IT'S TIME TO GO!
If only you were really talking about red and blue, but you're not, you're actually talking about religion. Maybe I shouldn't, but I have these paranoid fears that vindictive theists want to burn me and those who believe like me at the stake, even if metaphorically.
Obviously this guy Carter, while getting his Harvard Law Degree and his PhD (Piled Higher and Deeper) in Political Science, failed to notice that the term "...separation of church and state..." occurs NOWHERE in the founding documents of this nation.
I'm talking about people like myself who will be voting for candidates based on our beliefs and the long held traditions of our great country. Take my sister's church in Orlando for example... all 1200+ eligible voters in their membership all turned out to the polls and voted early for President Bush.
If Christians becoming even more politcally active and speaking up for our beliefs sounds vindictive it's too bad from my perspective.
This is about making a stand againist the left who preach tolerance, but their actions are based on intolerance.
I am fired up more than ever! A passionate conservative Christian is more powerful than any liberal can ever imagine.
I hope the rats continue to protest, and loudly proclaim their Godless American hating elitist liberalism. Then I hope they continue to whine when the voters proclaim that those who would represent the people must represent the people.
smug idiots need to learn some more history instead of parroting secular extremist talking points
It's all good until the Federal Government gets involved.
The biggest problem we have in this country is that the Federal Courts get involved in these local disputes.
The 1st Amendment says: Congress shall make no law respecting religion or the free exercise thereof.
Then the more recent equal rights amendment militated against the first amendment. Now the communities are required by the judiciary to make laws so that local communities have to follow a certain religious script. The 'equal rights under the law' is construed to require these communities to grant people the right to not be offended.
And that is the situation in which we find ourselves. The misuse of the ERA, the tinkering with the constitution has caused a tyranny to erupt from the federal government which we will not be able to control without the christians of this country rising up to take the government back from the atheists. That way we can bring back the tolerance.
Now when I say 'bring back the tolerance' I mean that we need to return control of the communities back to the communities. Give the states control of the states and reduce the power of the federal government to control behaviors. Along the same lines, I am pleased to see that many states are having to raise their local taxes. This local effect will effect changes into the government as the populations vote out the wasteful politicians for more efficient people. This is the efficiency of the local community to manage their own expenses and affairs.
So with respect to this 'person' who wants to turn his back on the flag and misuse his office in order to make political statements, if the local community wants to vote him out then let it be so. If that local community wishes to establish Christianity as their religion of choice then that is okay too. If that local community wants to establish islam as their religion of choice that is their choice. The federal Courts MUST NOT get involved in that choice. And where a person does not feel 'comfortable' or 'welcomed' in a community, there are other communities for him to go to. Or perhaps that person can establish himself in that community without the help of the federal government, perhaps that person can be tolerant and respectful of the community. Perhaps that community requires a lesson in tolerance. That lesson cannot be taught by Judicial Fiat!
The federal courts might get involved in the MOST AGGREGIOUS cases of outright bigotry, crossburnings and lynch mobs. But to the extent the Feds are active today they have become the problem.
It's all good until the feds get involved.
There's something off-putting about someone in public office who doesn't respect American values. If he wants to be seated, fine but not at taxpayers' expense. The Left has for too long acted like they can do as they please but the public has to follow their dictates. I'm sick and tired of the hypocrisy.
Whether you are religious or chose not to be, your liberty is still vested in one nation under god. Nobody is asking anyone to be religious....that is a separate and private matter we respect, because we respect the freedom of the individual. It seems perfectly clear to me.
If he does not respect American values he should not hold public office in America. The public has a right to expect that the people elected ARE true Americans. If he deceived the voters, they have the right to remove him. Since he is a fraud having misled the voters, he should be required to repay his allowance.
No, it's clarifying the community's values. The so-called "trustee" is correctly seen as a trouble-maker. He does not have to be religious to pledge allegiance.
Whoa, whoa, whoa. And you'd be ok with penalties for not sharing in the community relgion? Sorry, not on board, won't come on board, not my party.
In your opinion, is not believing in gods somehow a slap in the face to American values?
Yeah, I'm afraid in this day and age, it does. He could just mumble the words "under God", but he needs to say the pledge.
What penalties? Did I say 'penalties' anywhere?
And what gives you the right to dictate how a community of amish people will live their lives? What gives me the right to tell the city of Los Angeles that they must remove the cross from their city seal? If the ACLU decides that all religion must be expunged from the public square, I guarantee it will use the federal government to enforce that tyranny.
We MUST return control of the local communities to the local communities. We MUST return control of the states to the states. Those right not SPECIFICALLY enumerated within the constitution must be granted to the States and the Individual respectively. Specifically does not mean 'prenumberances' either.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.