Court Upholds God in Pledge

datePosted on 10:24, March 16th, 2010 by Kosmic Kurt

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals formally rejected the lawsuit brought by Sacramento attorney Michael Newdow challenging the 1954 decision to add the words “…under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance. Judge Carlos Bea, who wrote the majority opinion, said that the 1954 addition to the pledge was to set America apart from the “godless” communists and was not a violation of the Establishment Clause. He also confirmed that people are not required to say the pledge by law. The truth is, you do not have to say the pledge or even stand for it (West Virginia State Board of Education V. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624). That’s well and good; however, suppose you are a grade school student and refuse to say the pledge. There is really good chance that your teacher and rest of the class will either coerce you into saying it – or you will be severely chastised. The decision is B.S. and Judge Bea is dead wrong. Further, saying “under God” as in one god, rules out polytheistic religions like Hinduism. Explain to me how this does not violate the establishment clause of preferring one religion over another.

In a second ruling the same court also ruled that the motto “In God We Trust” on our currency was also not in violation of the establishment clause either and stated, “the phrase is ceremonial and patriotic and has nothing whatsoever to do with the establishment of religion.”

I am deeply saddened by the courts decision. It is clearly not in the best interest our country. And I can only hope that someday when reason prevails, both decisions will be overturned. In the meantime I will most likely continue to refuse to say the pledge and inform my daughter that she does not have to say it in school, however, I will understand if she does.

On the positive side, it should be noted that a federal judge did originally rule in favor of Newdow in 2005, but that decision resulted in it going on to the appeals court. It should also be noted that the current decision was a split one. As non-theists it is critical that we continue to protest and let our voices be heard in this matter. The only way to change the discriminatory status quo is to keep pushing for absolute separation of church and state in the way our Founding Fathers intended.

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