Atheist activist Michael Newdow was recently in a Boston federal appeals court. Along with people who had legal standing in the matter, he wanted the court to rule that the words “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance were a religious statement and therefore unconstitutional.
If they won, New Hampshire would no longer be saying the Pledge in public schools.
The Court of Appeals for the First Circuit decision mirrors the decision in March of this year by the San Francisco-based Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upholding the constitutionality of the Pledge. Both appeals are now likely to head to the Supreme Court.
“This is a victory for plain old common sense,” said [Becket Fund President Kevin "Seamus"] Hasson. “No one except Dr. Newdow and the Freedom From Religion Foundation thinks that they are praying to God when they pledge allegiance to the flag.” “We look forward to defending the Pledge of Allegiance at the Supreme Court and laying to rest once and for all this misguided attempt to put the word ‘God’ under constitutional quarantine,” added Hasson.
You can argue that this isn’t the right time for Newdow to be mounting a challenge against the Pledge with the Supreme Court makeup as it is today. But is there ever a right time?
Newdow is right on principle. It’s too bad the courts don’t agree.
The Pledge isn’t the most pressing priority in the atheist world, but it’s certainly symbolic of how religion creeps its way into public schools in various roundabout ways.
Under God is really just about inalienable rights and political philosophy.
Intelligent Design is really about science.
We just want to teach the Bible as “literature”… (which sounds fine in theory, but doesn’t always work in practice).
It won’t end. The courts need to put a stop to obvious violations of church/state separation in public schools as they occur. The Pledge is one of those violations.