Pledge of Allegiance may keep “under God”
A federal court has ruled in favor of keeping the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance. The Pledge was composed in 1892, and the words “under God” added in 1954. The Pledge reads:
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
Michael Newdow, an atheist, filed a lawsuit to remove the words because he claimed it disregarded his religious beliefs and violated the separation of church and state. In denying Newdow’s claims on March 11, 2010, the court ruled that “The Pledge is constitutional as it serves to unite our vast nation through the proud recitation of some of the ideals upon which our Republic was founded.”*
Public school students are not required to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. They may remain silent during the Pledge if they choose to.
The court also upheld the inscription of the national motto “In God We Trust” on U.S. coins and currency.
*Newdow v. Rio Linda Union School District (Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, March 11, 2010)
Are you troubled by the inclusion of these words in the Pledge or on our money? Do you see it as endorsement by the government of religion or is it a recognition of the history of America from colonial times?
Note: In 1940, the U.S. Supreme Court voted 8-1 that schools can discipline a student for refusing to salute the U.S. flag (Minersville School District v. Gobitis). However, three years later, the Court reversed itself and ruled 6-3 that such a requirement violates the student’s free speech rights. (West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette (1943).