U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton provided the plaintiff, Michael Newdow, with some helpful legal advice.
During oral arguments for the case in July, Judge Karlton threw out several parts of Mr. Newdow's revised lawsuit, saying the plaintiff's argument that the entire pledge is unconstitutional would not make it past a higher court. Rather, the judge said, the case should focus on whether saying the pledge in public schools is an unacceptable endorsement of religion.
Republican leaders defended the Pledge:
"The Pledge of Allegiance is a vital, ennobling part of our national identity, and the American people resoundingly support its value in the education of our children," said House Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas. "The ruling is wrong, period, and I look forward to its reversal."
"This is yet another example of an irresponsible decision by a liberal activist judge unable to separate personal politics from public service," said Sen. John Thune, South Dakota Republican. "As we work to fill two vacancies in the highest court of the land, today's news only serves to underscore the importance of appointing judicial nominees who refuse to allow their personal views to shape decisions."
Why were the words "under God" added in 1954, and why should they stay?
"In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America's heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country's most powerful resource in peace and war."
—President Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1954
Since I was a small boy, two states have been added to our country
and two words have been added to the Pledge of Allegiance: "under God." Wouldn't it be a pity if someone said that is a prayer and that would be eliminated from schools too?
— Red Skelton
Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God?
The highest story of the American Revolution is this: it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.
We've staked the whole future of American civilization not on the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all our political institutions upon the capacity of each and all of us...to Govern ourselves according to the commandments of God. The future and success of America is not in this Constitution, but in the laws of God upon which this Constitution is founded."
The Bible is the Rock on which this Republic rests.
—President Andrew Jackson
The philosophy of the school house in one generation is the philosophy of the government in the next generation.
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution reads:
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.
Was the First Amendment written:
a) To protect the American people and their laws from religious values
b) To protect those values from government tyranny
If you think that these questions are esoteric matters of Constitutional law, or if you realize that they are much more than that, I challenge you to hear Dr. John Eidsmoe at the EdWatch event, "What Should Schools Teach About the U.S. Constitution?" sponsored by The Patriot and AM 980 KKMS (see previous post for details).
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE