From the LTE archive circa 2003. ‘Under God’ in the Pledge was in the news.
Thanks Ninth Circuit Court
The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court voted 15-14 to take no
further action regarding its June, 2002 ruling in NEWDOW v. U.S.
At that time they declared that “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance was unconstitutional and was the equivalent of government endorsed religion. The First Amendment to our Constitution prohibits government from promoting or establishing religion and religious belief. The Pledge of Allegiance should be secular. It is, ideally, a statement of unity for a free people, regardless of whether one believes or disbelieves in religious teachings. This case has nothing to do with the right of people to recite the
Pledge of Allegiance. The decision by the Ninth Circuit panel focused on the inclusion of two words, ‘under God,’ that were not part of the original pledge. The statement that the United States is a nation ‘under God’ is an endorsement of religion. It is a profession of a religious belief, namely, a belief in monotheism.”
Unfortunately our Attorney General just does not seem to get it when he said that no effort will be spared to preserve the rights of our citizens to pledge allegiance to the American flag or this time when he avowed to defend American’s right to declare their patriotism through the voluntary recitation. This has nothing to do with patriotism and I doubt that any school child considers it voluntary. It’s about linking religion with patriotism and it is wrong for the government to be doing it.
So, yes , Mr Ashcroft , as long as “Under God” remains in the pledge our school children will be deprived of this patriotic exercise.
Yes , Mr Ashcroft , as long as you continue to leave this phrase in, it will be just as unconstitutional as school prayer.
As long as the government continues to attempt to associate patriotism with a monotheistic, obviously Christian, god, they will miss out.
Fortunately, millions of school children everywhere will breathe a sigh of relief that they no longer have to pretend to believe in the majority religion just to show their patriotism. Perhaps the courts are right on , just as they were in 1963 with prayer.
“We may not — we must not — allow public sentiment or outcry to
guide our decisions,” Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote. “The Bill of Rights is, of
course, intended to protect the rights of those in the minority
against the temporary passions of a majority.”
What the recent decision did change from last June , is to narrow the scope to only encompass school recitation of the Pledge as long as it contains ‘Under God’. If we can eliminate the reference to the supernatural, the Pledge will again include all Americans. Currently it is a religious test, contrary to the fourth amendment to the Constitution.
If we just declare that it is unconstitutional to allow the Pledge in public school because of the religious phrase and do not remove the phrase entirely, we will indeed be doing our school children a great injustice.