Pledge of Allegiance to continue with phrase 'under God' despite challenge
No one is forced to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, attorney reminds others
The phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance, recited by school children at the beginning of each school day, has long been controversial. The phrase, some have argued, brings religion into the classroom, violating the separation of church and state. Attorney Eric Rassbach says that "under God" will most likely remain in the pledge for now, in spite of a new challenge.
"Nobody has to say the words 'under God,' or the pledge at all," Rassbach says. "That's an extremely important thing that most people don't realize. You can't compel people to say the pledge, and if someone was compelled to say the pledge, I'd be on the other side of the case."
Rassbach describes himself as a Presbyterian and claims he doesn't remember saying the pledge in middle or high school. Rassbach, the deputy counsel of the Washington, D.C.-based Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, the fund has represented many religious groups in the past, as well as atheists.
The phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance has resisted numerous challenges over the years. Rassbach says that s ruling to remove the phrase "under God" "would represent a major break with federal law." The notion of standing up in front of a flag and saying words to it has incited controversy for most of the pledge's 120-year history.
First published in 1892, the phrase was first challenged on religious grounds in 1943 - even before the reference to God was even written in. in the case of the West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, the Supreme Court ruled that students could not be forced to salute or say the pledge in classrooms after a Jehovah's Witness refused to participate at school.
The pledge went unquestioned until the early 1950s, when the Knights of Columbus began pushing at annual meetings to have the phrase added for general recitation. Congress passed a joint resolution in 1954 that inserted the phrase, with the approval of then-U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower.
"These words will remind Americans that despite our great physical strength we must remain humble," Eisenhower wrote in a 1954 letter to the Knights, thanking them for their contribution. "They will help us to keep constantly in our minds and hearts the spiritual and moral principles which alone give dignity to man, and upon which our way of life is founded."
"A distinction must be made between the existence of a religion as an institution and a belief in the sovereignty of God," the sponsors of the 1954 bill said. "The phrase 'under God' recognizes only the guidance of God in our national affairs," they said.
Watch Catholic Online's most viral videos here!
© 2013, Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM.
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for December 2013
General Intention: Victimized Children. That children who are victims of abandonment or violence may find the love and protection they need.
Missionary Intention: Prepare the Savior's Coming. That Christians, enlightened by the Word incarnate, may prepare humanity for the Savior's coming.
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More U.S. News
- Pope Francis calls for your 'prayer and action' to end global hunger
- HHS Mandate News: Priests for Life to Have its Day in Court!
- St. Nicholas: Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa
- Same-sex weddings now comprise 17 percent of all Washington state marriages
- Nuclear password to start World War III - was 00000000
- How Many Loaves Do You Have? Living the Miracle of the Loaves Today
- If Detroit declares bankruptcy - what then?
- United States teens still lagging behind their global friends in education
- Thanksgiving: We Must Become Again a People of Thanksgiving, Love and Light
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?