Sunday, March 14, 2010

What? It's Finally Okay to Say "God" in California Schools?

Back in 2002, Michael Newdow, a Sacramento, California athiest, challenged the constitutionality of the Pledge of Allegiance because it contains the words, "under God." References to God, Newdow claimed, infringed on his religious beliefs. A 9th Circuit panel of the Federal Appeals Court agreed with Newdow, and declared the Pledge "a profession of a religious belief, namely, a belief in monotheism," and thus unconstitutional.

The panel's decision barred 9.6 million children in 10 states from "teacher-led recitation" of the Pledge. It also flew in the face of many previous judicial rulings supporting the Pledge, leading to public outrage over judicial activism.

That was then. Fast forward through a serious of appeals and challenges to this past Thursday, when the same 9th Circuit Federal Appeals Court ruled in favor of a defense of the Pledge by 50 members of Congress, represented by the American Center for Law and Justice. This time the Court, with 2 out of 3 different members than in 2002, saw things differently:
The Pledge is one of allegiance to our Republic, not of allegiance to God or to any religion. Furthermore, Congress’ ostensible and predominant purpose when it enacted and amended the Pledge over time was patriotic, not religious.


The Pledge of Allegiance serves to unite our vast nation through the proud recitation of some of the ideals upon which our Republic was founded and for which we continue to strive: one Nation under God—the Founding Fathers’ belief that the people of this nation are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; indivisible—although we have individual states, they are united in one Republic; with liberty—the government cannot take away the people’s inalienable rights; and justice for all—everyone in America is entitled to ‘equal justice under the law’ (as is inscribed above the main entrance to our Supreme Court). (Full decision available here.)
In a separate ruling, the Court gave a constitutional thumbs up to use of the National Motto, "In God We Trust," as a ceremonial and patriotic phrase.

What is going on in California? Only last week a Federal Judge in that state ruled that it is constitutional for a math teacher to display in his classroom patriotic banners that mention the word "God," even if his political views are "unpopular."

Related post: Federal Judge Rules Against Hostility to U.S. Religious Heritage in Classroom


  1. They must be putting "rational juice" in the CA reservoirs.

    Honestly, the results of this case was a no-brainer to predict, much like the outcome of the 2nd OJ trial. The "nutty 9th" took so much heat for the Pledge decision that it had to be reversed. Still, it's good to see.

    I think the original decision came because G.W. Bush was president. People in some parts of CA were so panicked about his supposed evangelical beliefs...

    A number of Californians are very elitist when it comes to perceived Bible Belt Christians-- I mean look at what gets produced in Hollywood: Killer, Bible quoting ministers (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit) etc. LOOK OUT!

  2. Rational juice!

    Now there's a product that would outsell Napa Valley wines!

  3. It's about darn time! Can it be that sanity is being restored . . . and that it took a whacked-out radical loon of a president to open people's eyes?