Newsmax Panel Wants To Force Student Into Military For Referring To God As 'Allah' (Which Means 'God')

Culture Wars

For the past several years, conservatives have been trying to frame themselves as the censorship-hating defenders of free speech and the First Amendment. This is largely because they seemed to have realized that their history of loving censorship and hating free speech has traditionally made them very uncool with the kids.

Of course, being that this is a new path for them, they don't really "get" what free speech is about. They keep desperately trying to twist it in order to claim that no one can criticize them, Christians are allowed to discriminate against people they don't like, and social media sites can't have Terms of Service, rather than "the government cannot censor you." Because they still really like it when the government censors people. They cry about "cancel culture," which — to the extent that it is even a "real thing" — is not only not a violation of the First Amendment but an expression of it.

A panel on Newsmax on Thursday, full of people who surely hate cancel culture and love "free speech," discussed a recent incident in which the senior class president at Justice High School in Fairfax, Virginia, replaced the word "God," in the Pledge of Allegiance with "Allah," which is the word for "God" in Arabic.


"My jaw dropped. That's an absolute disgrace." said panelist Melanie Collette, host of a radio show called "MoneyTalk." "You're doing the pledge on behalf of a group of people, you're supposed to be doing it on their behalf. That's ridiculous."

You know what? It is ridiculous. Which is why many of us think it is ridiculous for everyone to say the "Under God" part, because not everyone believes in the Christian God or any God for that matter. If this is something that is meant to be for everyone in the United States, it should not exclude people.

Republican strategist and former congressional candidate Amanda Makki was the first to explain how this whole incident was the fault of Joe Biden.

It kinda makes you wonder if this is where President Biden has just made it so easy for people to just do whatever they want and say the things that they want, irrespective of the laws and the rules.

It's not so much that President Biden has made it easy for people to say the things they want, it is that the Constitution has made it easy for people to say the things they want. Or legal, rather.

You know, but look, we're a Judeo-Christian nation and our Pledge of Allegiance says "One Nation Under God" and it has since 1942.

This would be a great point if the pledge were written in 1942, which it was not (and if it were correct, which it is is not). The pledge was written in 1892, by Francis Bellamy, a socialist. Bellamy was, in fact, a Christian, though apparently not the kind that needed to force everyone else to also be a Christian. It was amended to include "under God" more than 60 years later, in 1954, because ... communism.

GOP strategist Mark Vargas, however, took shit directly off the damn rails and somehow ended up incorporating D-Day into the whole thing.

Well, you know, it's un-American, it's unpatriotic and it's quite frankly upsetting. You know I served my country as a civilian in combat, I deployed to Baghdad 14 times to a combat zone and I saw firsthand the sacrifice, the selflessness of the men and women who wear our uniform and we're just coming off of Memorial Day, where we honor those that paid the ultimate sacrifice. And just this past Sunday, D-Day, the greatest seaboard invasion in the history of the world that not only freed Europe but ended World War II and that was led by the American soldiers.

Perhaps if he had served in "our uniform" instead of being a mercenary or whatever it was he did, he would have been aware that there is not a faith test for the United States military and Muslims can and do join up.

Now, we are all frequently told that people in the military are fighting for our "freedoms." Which freedoms those are, we're not sure, but we're at least supposed to pretend that's what they're doing, because it makes everyone feel much better about using them as cannon fodder in obviously unjust wars founded on lies. Two of the freedoms we have in this country are freedom of speech and freedom of religion — so one might say that not exercising these freedoms is an insult to the things we were pretending these people fought, killed, and died for.

Vargas continued, hopping on the "This is Biden's fault!" train.

We shouldn't be surprised by this, because remember it was Joe Biden, the first president to remove God from the National Day of Prayer proclamation.

So my question to President Biden and Vice President Harris is, "If we can't pray to God, who do we pray to? Bernie Sanders or AOC?"

Yes. Absolutely. That is what we want. In fact, we want prayers to Bernie Sanders and AOC in school, every day, in place of the Pledge of Allegiance. And you have to pray for the Green New Deal, single-payer health care and a living wage for all. And unions.

Melanie Collette continued to be confused about what is and is not religion.

I don't really understand how it is that we got here, but people need to get on board with being in the United States of America, and really honing in on the word "United." We're united as a country and of course that entitles us to worship how we want according to the First Amendment and that is wonderful, but again, when we're saying the Pledge on behalf of a group of people, we say it correctly. We don't say it how we want, we don't include our own God. That's not what we do.

That is literally what the United States did in 1954. They included the Christian God — who, by the way, is the exact same God as "Allah." It's not like the student threw Zeus in there. Allah is just the Arabic word for God.

As if that wasn't all batshit enough, the panel then expounded on the cruel and unusual punishments they would like to inflict on students who say such things. Amanda Makki's suggestion was to take away their diplomas in hopes of just ruining their lives.

Why not strip them of their diplomas, make them learn a hard lesson, that you can't go off script. If something's been approved, that's what you're gonna say. Because otherwise you're gonna have copycats do it and we're already seeing that happen.

Mark Vargas went further, suggesting they be forced to serve in the military for their crimes.

There needs to be consequences for this, and I suggest that this young student perhaps serve a year of serving in the military, and I think that would change their perspective.

Your valiant defenders of freeze peach, everybody!

[Media Matters]

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Robyn Pennacchia

Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse

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