Ruling on statute requiring daily recitation
of the Pledge of Allegiance including the
phraseology One Nation Under God
(Top Posts - Social/Legal - 062602)

Details of the court decision:

I'm pleased to see that "freedom from religion" has received some

However, prepare for a flood of political grandstanding with Republi-
cans and Democrats and their sycophantic supporters falling over each
other in denouncing the decision (not to even mention the scoffing the
decision will get from the Religious Reich [er, uh, I meant to say, Right,
as in wrong]).

References (from the past) relating the reasons why god should be
separate from the pledge and from other governmental loyalty oaths,
institutions, mottoes, and buildings:

One Nation, Divisible Under God (070100)
"For 45 years the Pledge of Allegiance has
included a mention of the Almighty. Atheist
Michael Newdow is suing for removal. ..."

In God We Trust? (070201)
"... Should our national motto encourage delu-
sion and promote religion or should it hold in
the highest esteem the human desire to reason,
investigate, explore, and responsibly address
the challenges and solutions to our plight on
this earth, at this time, in this life? ..."

Foundational documents residing at the core of American
freedoms and liberties:

Amendments 11-27 to the Constitution
of the United States of America (070900)

Constitution of the United States
of America (070900)

Declaration of Independence of the
United States of America (070900)

Bill of Rights of the United States of America


Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,
or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom
of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to
assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

- - -

Is a statute requiring daily recitation of a pledge by (quote from the
statute at issue) "Each elementary school class ... once each day",
a pledge which includes "one Nation under God", an establishment
of religion? If so, it must go, based on the 1st amendment.

Reference: Text of the ruling (PDF file) ...

Reference: Text of the ruling (HTM file) ...

- - -

Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America:

"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."

- - -

Clearly, supporting, by statute, a teacher reciting and soliciting students
to recite, daily, a pledge to "one Nation, under God" in schools is just
as violative of the 1st amendment as is legislating the speaking of a daily
school prayer or posting of the 10 commandments or reciting a daily
holy writ of any faith or a daily anti-holy writ of any non-faith.

A teacher starting her class, daily, by saying "... let us all unite in our
support for one Nation, under God, so that we may be enriched by
our opportunity to learn ..." would doubtless be in violation of the 1st
amendment, as is any phraseology of support for any religious faith or
for support of all religious faith or for support of any or all disbelief-in-
religious-faith positions in schools. The pledge? Same principle applies.

Here is an irony for you. Religions and the faithful promote belief in
God as among the most important, if not the most important, tenet by
which to live. That belief, along with a host of others, is used as a
foundational underlying principle of religious faith.

Yet, with Michael's attempt to remove that from the statute-required
daily recitation by a teacher in front of students, of "one Nation, under
God", a typical reply has been that the phraseology is not promotive
of religious faith or belief in God, but is, instead referring to a generic
force which could be interpreted in any number of ways - anyone's
God will do and it's not really the God of religions that's being sup-
ported there, it's just some kind of generic force of some vague kind,
even nature could be considered the God that's being expressed.

Verrrry interesting, the claim that it's not all that significant or meaningful
or promotive of religion by those trying to dismiss the effort to take it
out of the pledge, juxtaposed against its "be-all end-all of all" claim
when used in the context of the very religious faiths the "one Nation,
under God" supporters are amenable towards, at least amenable in
this context.

Disingenuous and duplicitous? Yes. They can't have it both ways, very
important to religious faiths -- so let's keep it in -and- not all that signifi-
cant or offensive to those of no religious faiths (and who cares about
them, anyway, right?) -- so let's keep it in.

Who is marginalized/excluded by the "one Nation, under God" phrase-

In effect, atheists, secular humanists, agnostics, freethinkers, non-theists,
non-religionists, anti-religionists, non-monotheists, and all who find the
"one Nation, under God" recitation in front of children to be a violation
of the separation of church and state, an affront to the right of their
children to make their own personal religious and non-religious deci-
sions apart from the endorsement of God in schools their children are
forced, by law, to attend.

Of note, about 33 million Americans now classify themselves under
various non-religious "disbelieving in God" categories. Also, a substan-
tial number of Americans, religious and non-religious, support secular-
ism to minimize any chance that a religious faith or non-religious anti-
faith or non-faith inconsistent with their own will be promoted to their
children forced to attend school, by law.

Also, the religious who find offense in a pledge to any entity other than
God (an admittedly small minority view of some religions), find a sta-
tute requiring a teacher-led recitation of a pledge to "one Nation, under
God" to be violative of their religious freedom. In addition, religions
that don't follow a monotheistic God, like wiccans or satanists or spiritualists or some of the native American religions, don't fit within
the "one Nation, under God" phraseology.

Some polytheists (like Hindus) find the phrase offensive. Many bud-
dhists don't jive to the traditional God game of monotheism. Some
non-christians (like muslims) find the phrase to be apart from their
interpretation of God, though most choose to treat God as their
personal interpretation they call Allah in order to try to fit in with
their fellow citizenry in a predominantly christian country.

The original versions of the pledge, pre-1954, worked to the benefit
of all Americans (except the religious who prefer no pledge to anything
but God), so why not use the pre-1954 pledge to unite, rather than
divide the nation?

A final note, "one Nation, under God", what do the children think when
they hear that phrase? For those who are religious, in honesty, they
probably would acknowledge that they think it's the God their parents
and church or mosque or synagogue or temple have taught them about
that's being referred to. As far as the disclaimer that it's a generic object
for all religious faiths and all of those of no religions, do the children
see it that way? If they don't, is that a message that the state should be
supporting, exclusion of all disbelievers in a theocratic-state manner?
Is that consistent with a secular education system?

Therein, I think, resides the nature of the support of the religious for the
phrase. Most view it as promotive of religious faith, in general, and their
own interpretation of faith, as impressed upon their children, in particu-
lar. Clearly, it violates the 1st amendment "no law respecting an estab-
lishment of religion" phraseology.

The U.S. Pledge of Allegiance, and its "under God" phrase

Americans United for Separation of Church and State