Nation Expects to See Numerous Ramifications As the Pledge Case Resolves

( [email protected] ) May 12, 2004 09:09 AM EDT

The debate over the constitutionality of the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance and the reciting of the Pledge in public schools continues in both the courts and among the public.

This debate and the pending decision will have numerous ramifications for the nation, and thus has stirred up activism within both religious and non-religious communities.

A public education project, called One Nation Under God, has been launched by the Declaration Foundation, a civic educational organization focused on restoring religious liberty in America. Public events, such as rallies, are being organized throughout the states to raise awareness about issues of religious freedom and the right to religious expression in public life.

These and other campaigns will lend their support to the legal defense fund that represents the preservation of the words “one nation, under God” in the Pledge. Discussions among legal groups as well as members of the public will continue to question the divide between church and state and the role of religion in society.

On March 24, the Supreme Court heard the case of Michael Newdow, an atheist who first brought the issue before a California court two years ago and will reconvene in early June to discuss and make a decision on the case.

As an atheist, he objects to state-sponsored recitation of the Pledge in public schools, which he claims makes children, such as his daughter, unknowingly participants in a religious exercise. He cites the violation of the First Amendment Establishment Clause for his legal argument.

The 2002 ruling by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals declared the addition of the words “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance by the 1954 Act of Congress unconstitutional and banned the recitation of the Pledge; however, ensuing challenges have kept the order from being placed into effect.