Christian Leaders Speak Out on Pledge of Allegiance Case

"The phrase 'under God' in the context of the pledge encapsulates what our founding generation believed: that our rights, freedoms, and liberties derived from God to mankind."
( [email protected] ) Mar 26, 2004 07:15 PM EST

Conservative leaders from the various Christian groups are voicing their opinions on the Pledge of Allegiance case; why the phrase “under God” shouldn’t be excluded and how the case will resolve.

Dr. Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, says he is “cautiously optimistic” about the Supreme Court upholding the Pledge as constitutional and he thinks it is “dangerous nonsense” for those who look at reciting the Pledge with the phrase “under God” as endorsement of religion by the government.

He added: "If the high court strikes down the phrase from the Pledge, we will witness the fastest ratification of an amendment to the Constitution in American history.”.

"Such an amendment, which would guarantee Americans' right to use the phrases 'under God' in our national pledge and 'In God We Trust' as our national motto, would surf the crest of a wave of overwhelming public outrage to rapid ratification," Land said noting that 90 percent of Americans support the Pledge with “under God.”

Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law & Justice, who attended the court hearing of the case Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow, said the voluntary recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance is consistent with the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

"The fact is that in our government documents, our founding documents, our statements from our founding generation -- references to God are numerous; and to start excluding those, which would be the end result if the Pledge was deemed unconstitutional, I think, would be a violation," Sekulow said.

"The Pledge of Allegiance said who we are as the American people," Sekulow said. "I think the phrase 'under God' in the context of the pledge encapsulates what our founding generation believed: that our rights, freedoms, and liberties derived from God to mankind."

Sekulow asserted since the human rights, freedom, and liberties that Americans are enjoying today are not from the government, the government cannot take away those rights. He said, "Government's job is to protect those liberties. It was a very different worldview [held by the founding fathers] on how our rights, liberties, and freedoms originate."

Richard Thompson, chief counsel of The Thomas More Law Center, says the case should be dismissed entirely considering Michael Newdow’s position, who legally doesn’t meet up to stand up before the Supreme Court on behalf of his daughter.

In defense of the Pledge, Thompson made an interesting point in regards to America’s system of laws saying that the two words “under God” are patriotic expression that signifies the nation’s historic and religious traditions, which recognizes Americans’ right to voice their opinion.

"Ironically, this God-given freedom is what endows Mr. Newdow with the right to voice his opinion that there is no God," Thompson says.

Gary Bauer of American Values, who is concerned of “judicial tyranny” happening in America society today, said it is difficult to predict how the outcome of the case would be.

Seeing the nation’s judges as the cause of an increasing cynicism he sees among the American people, he said: "No matter the issue -- partial-birth abortion, prayer in schools, the Ten Commandments, the Pledge of Allegiance, even the meaning of marriage -- our judges are increasingly hostile to the cherished and deeply held beliefs of most Americans," the conservative spokesman says. "No one should be surprised if the [Supreme] Court does in fact declare the Pledge illegal."

Source: The Agape Press