Pledge of Allegiance: News and Information
Court Rules Newdow Can Proceed With Lawsuit
In Michael Newdow's court battles to have "under God" removed from the Pledge of Allegiance, he was attacked viciously by far-right Christians who didn't want the government to stop endorsing their religious beliefs. In one case, a person appears to have gone too far by libeling Newdow. A lawsuit has been proceeding over this and it's one step further along now.
Farmer Receives Threats, Prosecution for Flying Flag Upside Down
Should private citizens have the right to display the American flag however they wish? Well, if they own the flag and it's on their property the answer should be "yes," but extremists in America don't like that answer. They believe that they have the authority to control how American flags are presented, displayed, and interpreted.
North Carolina Forces Students to Recite Pledge of Allegiance
Apparently in direct defiance of a Supreme Court decision dating back to 1943, North Carolina has instituted a law that requires all students in public schools to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. This is a clearly and illegal and unconstitutional move and there's no way that it can survive court challenge.
Pledge Protection Act: Concerned Women of America Rewrite History
Should federal courts be prohibited from hearing challenges to the constitutionality of the Pledge of Allegiance? That's what the Christian Right wants: afraid that they will lose such cases on their merits, they hope to change the rules in order to avoid having to defend the Pledge in courts. They defend this move with historical falsehoods and illogical arguments.
Students Cannot be Forced to Stand for Pledge
Debates over the Pledge of Allegiance have been running through law and politics for decades now. It has long been an established principle - and only because of the courts - that students cannot be forced to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Forcing them to stand isn't much better, and courts are forcing governments to end that sort of coercion as well.
Michael Newdow's Lawsuit Dismissed
Michael Newdow's lawsuit against the placement of "In God We Trust" on America's currency has been dismissed by a judge. This probably isn't a surprise to anyone and while many Christians will probably be happy about this, they should hesitate in following that reaction. According to the judge, Newdow had no case because the motto is secular.
Jay Stephenson: Kids Who Don't Stand for Pledge Should be Beaten
'Stop the ACLU' and its author, Jay Stephenson, have become infamous for getting things wrong - and on those rare occasions when he isn't making a claim that is factually incorrect, he's expressing an opinion which is legally and morally repugnant. Case in point: Jay Stephenson believes that a student who refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance deserved to be physically assaulted.
Knights of Columbus Defend Pledge & God
The Knights of Columbus, a conservative Catholic organization largely responsible for the insertion of the words "under God" into the Pledge of Allegiance, has been active in defending the idea that the Pledge should remain a theological oath, not just a political or social statement. The Knights of Columbus are convinced that government endorsement of belief in their god is proper and justified.
Trashing the Pledge
Many people claim to be defending the Pledge of Allegiance when they oppose efforts to remove the words "under God." But is that really the case? Arguably, those who make a big show of "defending" the Pledge of Allegiance are actually undermining it by trivializing it and by using it as a platform for their own political and social agendas.
Student Sits for Pledge, Called unAmerican by Teacher
In Boynton Beach, Florida, a high school junior is suing the Palm Beach County School Board because of how he was treated when he refused to stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance. According to Cameron Frazier, his teacher ridiculed and punished him for exercising his constitutional rights.
Removing 'God' From Pledge Makes Atheists More Equal than Others?
If the state fails to endorse Christianity, does that make it anti-Christian? If the state fails to endorse theism, does that mean it is endorsing atheism? Some conservative evangelicals sincerely believe this, which means that their ability to reason and think coherently is questionable.
Protesters Picket Newdow's Home
In a demonstration of Christian love, charity, and compassion, Christians demonstrated in front of Michael Newdow's home on Sunday. The reason: they object to how he's trying to get the government to stop endorsing and promoting their beliefs. Apparently, it would be an infringement of their religious liberty if the state didn't favor their religion over other religions.
Conservatives Mobilizing Against Atheists
Michael Newdow, who is still working on a legal challenge to the phrase 'under God' in the Pledge of Allegiance, is now also working on a legal challenge to the use of the phrase 'In God We Trust' on the nation's money. Unhappy with how much publicity he got in his previous legal cases, religious conservatives are already mobilizing to smear him and his arguments.
Force Them to Say 'Under God'
Many religious conservatives criticize supporters of strict church/state separation by arguing that no one is forcing people to say 'under God' in the Pledge of Allegiance or to recite official government prayers. Others, though, would like to see exactly that situation come about. Using the state to enforce their religious vision is their goal.
Wisconsin: Students to Vote on Pledge of Allegiance
At the University of Wisconsin, the student senate recites the Pledge of Allegiance at every meeting - but Jacob Boer, an atheist, remains seated. Boer has submitted a resolution to have the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance removed.
Are Atheists UnAmerican?
Is it wrong for atheists and others to disagree with the addition of the words 'under God' to the Pledge of Allegiance? Is it unAmerican for people to think that a religious oath shouldn't be part of an expression of patriotism? Apparently it is, at least according to some ROTC cadets.
'Under God' Has Served Its Purpose
The phrase 'under God' was inserted into the Pledge of Allegiance in order to differentiate America from the 'godless' Soviet Union. Well, the Soviet Union is gone now so the reason for having 'under God' is also gone. Maybe it's time we found a new replacement that reflects our current international conflicts?
Pledge All About Establishing Religion
Why does the Christian Right get so worked up about removing "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance? If it is merely a statement about America's religious heritage, it wouldn't merit such heated rhetoric and over-the-top attacks on opponents.
Editorial: Atheists Right About Pledge, But Should Lose Anyway
Most negative reactions to the recent Pledge of Allegiance decision try to insist that government promotion of theism is constitutionally permissible. A very, very few are willing to acknowledge that the decision may have been correct, but they hasten to add that being correct isn't good enough because the correct decision is too unpopular.
Catholic League: Teachers Should Override Students' Religious Rights
The responses of religious conservatives to the most recent Pledge decision continue to come in. Perhaps the most interesting is that from the Catholic League, which says that teachers should ignore the religious rights of students and continue leading classes in the Pledge of Allegiance. Should teachers ignore the rights of Catholic students by leading classes in Protestant prayers?
Flag Desecration Amendment: It's Just The Beginning
Regularly, almost like clockwork, conservatives attempt to enact a constitutional amendment that would permit them to ban flag burning and various forms of flag "desecration." They still don't accept the fact that such activity is protected free speech, so they want to single out this sort of speech for special political regulation. If successful, it will just be the beginning.
Pledge of Allegiance Unconstitutional... Again
A federal judge in California has ruled that school children cannot be required to recite the Pledge of Allegiance because the inclusion of the words "under God" constitutes a coercive religious exercise. This should be unremarkable and uncontroversial, but in hyper-religious America, it's a reason for national outrage.
The Pledge of Allegiance: Anti-Semitic and Pro-Terrorist
Supporters of keeping "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance commonly argue that the absence of god in the Pledge would mean that the Pledge would support atheism - just like the absence of religion in public schools means that they support atheism. Have they really thought through the implications of such an argument?
Virginia: Pledge of Allegiance Upheld
The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a law which requires all schools to lead a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of each school day. A Christian father had challenged the law because of the inclusion of the phrase "under God," but the Court dismissed his arguments.
Flag Desecration and Flag Fetishism (Book Notes: Free For All)
On a regular basis, some Republican politician introduces a constitutional amendment that would allow the government to ban the "desecration" of the American flag. The immediate target is flag burning, but the idea that the flag can be "desecrated" implies that it is "sacred" to begin with...
Newdow Back in Court, Has Case Cut Back
Michael Newdow is back in court to challenge the constitutionality of the phase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. Unfortunately, the judge has decided to dismiss his complaint about the constitutionality of it being added and have only left his challenge to how it is recited in schools.
Colorado: Counselor Changes Pledge of Allegiance Words
There is a big flap in Wheat Ridge, Colorado, because a counselor leading the Pledge of Allegiance over the intercom replaced "on nation under God" with "one nation under your belief system." That replacement doesn't make much sense, but it did teach people a lesson in what it's like to have someone else's ideas promoted in the Pledge. I don't think they'll actually learn anything, though.
Indiana May Require Pledge
The Indiana legislature is considering a law that would make recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance mandatory in all public schools. Why? Apparently some think that rote memorization and recitation instills values.
Recall Over Pledge-Refusal Going Forward
The recall of David Habecker, the Trustee in Estes Park, Colorado who remains seated when others recite the Pledge of Allegiance, is going to go forward. A judge withdrew an injunction and said that citizens have a right to organize a recall of a politician who cannot in good conscience recite the Pledge.
Lawsuit Filed to Halt Recall over Pledge of Allegiance
In Estes Park, Colorado, Trustee David Habecker is under threat of recall. Why? Because he doesn't stand during the Pledge of Allegiance. That's his right, but some citizens don't like it when people exercise rights that they don't approve of. Habecker is suing to stop the recall.
Virginia: Should Students Sit During Pledge?
In Vriginia, students can sit while others stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance. One lawmaker wants to change that, though, and require students have parental permission before they are allowed to remain seated. Why does he think that students can't make this decision for themselves?
Reactions to Newdow's New Pledge Lawsuit
Quite a few religious conservatives have, naturally enough, reacted negatively to the announcement that Michael Newdow would be leading a new lawsuit against the constitutionality of the addition of the phrase "under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance. Generally speaking, critics have preferred to attack Newdow personally than address any of his legal arguments.
Newdow's New Suit Over Pledge
Michael Newdow is back, annoying theocrats and fundamentalists everywhere. His first case challenging the Pledge of Allegiance was dismissed on a technicality, but now he has officially filed a new lawsuit on behalf of other families. He will be their lawyer and, this time, there are no family technicalities to interfere.
Colorado: Stand on Pledge Spurs Recall Effort
I've written before about how the Estes Park Town Board in Colorado has been opening meetings with the Pledge of Allegiance and how one member has refused to stand or participate. Well, some people are so upset over this show of defiance that they have launched a recall effort.
South Dakota: Politician Under Fire for Not Saying Pledge
A city council member in Rapid City, South Dakota, is being attacked because he refuses to stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance. According to Tom Murphy, the flag as a symbol is beginning to fade because of the current assaults on civil liberties and his refusal to stand as others do is an expression of dissent.
Politics of the Pledge of Allegiance
Religious conservatives know that the legal arguments against the phrase "under God" being in the Pledge of Allegiance are strong and arguably stronger than those for leaving it in there. That's why they are so gung-ho on exempting the Pledge from court challenge, an egregiously cynical maneuver that is more about politics than religion.
All Morals Traceable to the Bible?
There is a common prejudice among conservative Christians that morality is unthinkable outside their religious beliefs. They insist that atheists can't really be moral or can't have any reason to be moral without the Christian God. This often goes hand-in-hand with the assertion that a strong, prosperous America needs to be explicitly Christian in order to survive.
One (Indocti)nation Under God
Defenders of the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance offer the legal argument that it has civil and historical value, but do they really believe this? It's hard to see how. It's certainly not what supporters out in the street believe or feel. Those who use the aforementioned legal argument either aren't paying attention or aren't being entirely honest.
Colorado: Pledge Debate Divides Town Board
The Estes Park Town Board in Colorado began opening the meetings with the Pledge of Allegiance in May, but one member objects and has refused to stand or participate. This has led to all sorts of denunciations and attacks - thus demonstrating precisely why the Pledge is divisive, especially in the hands of supporters.
Colorado: New Pledge Case Appealed to Supreme Court
In 2002 Frank Herbert Wonschik was convicted of possessing parts for a machine gun. He is appealing this, however, because the jury recited the Pledge of Allegiance after a patriotic speech from the judge. Lower courts have rejected the appeal but the Supreme Court could take it up.
Pledge Author an Atheist?
Is the reason that the original Pledge of Allegiance didn't include the phrase "under God" because the author, Francis Bellamy, was an atheist? No, because Bellamy was not only a theist and a Christian, but also a Baptist minister. It's merely that his Christian theology doesn't match that of contemporary conservative Christians - so they need to disclaim him somehow.
House Votes to "Protect" Pledge of Allegiance
Last week the House of Representatives voted to "protect" the Pledge of Allegiance by stripping from federal courts the authority to hear challenges to the inclusion of the phrase "under God" in the Pledge. It's a cynical, partisan political move that could backfire on them.
Illinois: Man Angered At Historical Pledge Display
An Illinois library has a display that includes an old poster of the Pledge of Allegiance - old enough to be from before the Pledge was changed to include "under God." The absence of religion in the Pledge display has upset a couple who are complaining vociferously.
Student Harassed for Not Reciting Pledge
A 13-year-old student in Wisconsin is being harassed at school for not reciting the Pledge of Allegiance - and the fault lies with the principle who announced that the reason for reciting the Pledge is to honor the nation. The implication was, naturally, Rachel Morris was unpatriotic.
Broad Challenges to the Pledge of Allegiance
Michael Newdow's legal challenge to the Pledge of Allegiance not only isn't over, it's actually expanding. In addition to a new lawsuit in California (in association with people who don't have to worry about the "custody" issue), he may be involved in lawsuits in several other places around the nation.
Pledge Case Review Denied, Newdow to Refile
Michael Newdow isn't quite finished with his legal fight against the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. He lost at the Supreme Court in June and that court has also refused to reconsider its ruling, but he's now joining another case with a different parent who can't be ignored on a technicality.
Pennsylvania: Pledge Requirement Struck Down
It's already a settled matter of law that students cannot be forced to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, but what if they are required to do so unless they have parental permission to remain silent? Many states have tried to do just that, but the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals has struck down Pennsylvania's attempt to enforce patriotism.
Rethinking the Pledge of Allegiance
Supporters of having the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance rarely take critics' arguments very seriously. Perhaps it would help to emphasize the idea that the inclusion of this phrase effectively excludes a great many Americans, preventing them from honestly reciting it and making the final phrase inaccurate - or just dishonest.
Right-Wing Pressure Forces Kerry's Religion Advisor to Quit
News moves fast... two days ago I wrote that the new adviser for religious outreach to John Kerry's campaign was a supporter of Newdow's case against the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. The outrage from the Radical Christian Right has now forced Rev. Brenda Bartella Peterson to resign.
Kerry Religious Advisor Supported Newdow
The new adviser for religious outreach to John Kerry's campaign and the Democratic National Committee was one of the signers of an amicus brief supporting Newdow's case against the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. For the far right, this is a reason to be horrified. For everyone else, this is a very positive sign.
Illinois: Atheist Challenges Pledge of Allegiance
Michael Newdow's legal saga against the Pledge of Allegiance ended without success, but it is only a matter of time before a new case is launched. The best candidate right now seems to be Rob Sherman in Illinois: his request that the local school stop the daily Pledge of Allegiance has been refused and he may take the matter to court.
Muslim Family Sues Over Pledge of Allegiance
One of the problems with the required recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance is that those who refrain, no matter what the reason, are treated like second-class citizens. Jehovah's Witnesses learned that and won the right for everyone to refuse to take part, but even today some children still experience discrimination over it matter.
Defending the Pledge and God
As I have noted more than once, people who defend the Pledge of Allegiance tend to do so in a way that only ends up providing good reasons to find it unconstitutional. I'm not sure if this is because they are ignorant of the issues or simply don't care and hope that their readers are the ignorant ones.
The Pledge Isn't Worth Fighting?
One common criticism of Michael Newdow's quest to have the phrase 'under God'? stricken from the official version of the Pledge of Allegiance is that this wasn't an issue worth fighting. Even if the case against it is reasonable, it isn't a worthy topic of funds, resources, and animosity. Is that a fair argument?
Court Ruling is Flawed
More and more people are starting to realize that the means by which the Supreme Court avoided having to rule on the constitutionality of the phrase 'under God'? in the Pledge of Allegiance was not just wrong, but in fact wrongly decided. By denying Michael Newdow standing, they managed to seriously undermine already-acknowledged rights of non-custodial parents across the nation.
Phil Valentine Out to Lunch on Constitution
It seems inevitable that when someone writes about the recent Supreme Court decision on the Pledge of Allegiance in order to disagree with Michael Newdow they will engage in some sort of distortion of the facts and law. Sometimes they manage numerous distortions.
Defending the Pledge - Like Any Religious Exercise
They never seem to realize it, but some defenders of government-endorsed religious exercises sometimes uses arguments for their position that actually make the case for the other side. Why don't they realize it? Apparently, they are so abysmally ignorant of history and the issues that they just don't realize that they are doing more to hurt their case than to help it.
Religion Belongs in Pledge?
Religious and social conservatives are happy that the phrase â€œunder Godâ€? will stay in the Pledge of Allegiance, at least for now. They are, however, having some trouble explaining how government-endorsed theism squares with government neutrality towards religion. It's not possible, at least when one is being honest, but that doesn't stop some from trying anyway.
Pledge vs. Custody Battles
When I wrote about the recent Supreme Court decision that Michael Newdow had no standing to challenge his daughter's recitation of "under God"? in the Pledge of Allegiance, I quoted from an article that criticized the decision's treatment of non-custodial parents. It seems that others are picking up on this as well.
Newdow Receives USD $1 million Libel Award
In July 2002, Austin Miles wrote a column claiming that Michael Newdow said that his daughter suffered 'emotional damage' from having to recite 'under God'? in the Pledge of Allegiance. This, Newdow said, was false and sued Miles for libel - and he won.
News: Supreme Court Dismissed Pledge Case
The United States Supreme Court has delivered a decision on Michael Newdow's challenge to the phrase 'under God' in the Pledge of Allegiance: they dismissed it on a technicality and ruled that Newdow didn't have 'standing'? to challenge the Pledge in the first place. (Several updates have been added to this - be sure to check out what's new).
Republican Attacked for Dropping 'Under God'
Defenders of the phrase "under God" in the Pledge emphasize that no one is forced to say those words. While it may not be illegal to skip that phase, some of the same conservatives who emphasize the voluntariness of the words turn around and viciously attack anyone who dares to drop them.
Student Opinions on the Pledge of Allegiance
Quite a few students in the United States really don't understand the First Amendment or the separation of church and state. Of course the adults in their lives - parents and teachers - probably don't understand either so it's not surprising. It's just a shame that no one takes the to learn and pass the correct information along.
Say the Pledge or Shut Up
There are a lot of attempts to defend the inclusion of the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. A significant number of them are predicated upon a deliberate and calculated attempt to obfuscate or at least avoid the real issues: people defend something that isn't at issue, thus giving the appearance of having said something relevant and reasonable.
No Place for God in Pledge
Does the phrase "under God" belong in the Pledge of Allegiance? Only if it isn't an endorsement of any religion or religious beliefs - but how can one argue that this is the case? If it isn't religious, why do people fight so hard to keep it?
One Nation Under God... As a Flag?
Not content to have the government inform citizens that they need to invoke their god when expressing patriotism through the Pledge of Allegiance, the Christian Right has come up with a new scheme to have the government promote their religion: flags that say "One Nation Under God" to be flow below the American flag.
McDermott was Right
When Jim McDermott dropped the phrase "under God" from his recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, he was attacked by many conservative politicians and pundits. Why? Because only a godless, communist traitor would do anything like that! These are the same people who claim that saying the phrase is "voluntary," remember.
Why Atheists Are Right About the Pledge
Conservative Christians in America like to complain about atheists. It seems that atheists are the biggest threat facing this republic and pose a tremendous danger to civil liberties. It's strange that this would be the case considering that atheists can't really get elected to public office and are commonly discriminated against.
Jim McDermott: Traitor
Congressman Jim McDermott omitted the phrase "under God" when he led the House of Representatives in the Pledge of Allegiance recently. For that he was excoriated by Republicans, chastised even by the Democrats, and now he is being called a "traitor" by Hans Zeiger, fascist-in-residence for the Boy Scouts of America.
Democrat Omits 'Under God' From House Pledge
In a move that caused conservative Republicans to faint dead away from shock and outrage, House Democrat Jim McDermott failed to include the phrase "under God" when he led the House in saying the Pledge of Allegiance. Republicans will alter the official record to ensure that McDermott's traitorous actions aren't preserved for others to learn about in the future.
Under God.... or Over?
The friends of God are not necessarily the friends of God and religion while the enemies of God and religion are, perhaps, their best friends. Have we gone down the rabbit hole with Alice? Perhaps - but this isn't a strange as it sounds because in America today, sometimes the doubters and disbelievers take religion more seriously and give it more respect than do the ostensible believers.
The Pledge and Original Intent
Was the inclusion of the phrase "under God" intended as an expression of religious solidarity and as a means to link patriotism with a certain type of theism? The evidence says that it was - but doesn't that mean that conservatives who insist on relying upon "original intent" should agree with getting rid of it?
Final Words on the Pledge of Allegiance
I've come across a document that lays out all the reasons why the use of "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance is wrong and why the arguments of the Pledge's defenders are all wrong. Once you read that, there's really nothing left to be said.
Anti-Christian Defense of the Pledge?
Some people see America drifting away from traditional Christianity - and they are right, it is. They hope, however, to stop that drift by getting the government to do more to endorse a Christian view of the world (Ten Commandments, "under God"), but to accomplish this they need to argue that such symbols aren't really Christian after all.
Who Needs the Pledge?
Defenders of the phrase of "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance style themselves as defenders of God, Christianity, and religion. They act as though they are holding the barricades against godless forces that would destroy American society - forgetting that there are religious people, including Christians, who also object to this smarmy identification of patriotism with religion.
Pyrrhic Victory for the Pledge?
It's possible that the Supreme Court will decide that there is nothing unconstitutional about the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. If they do, however, it won't be a victory for the Christian Right because the reasoning will rationalize "under God" by claiming that it is ceremonial, non-religious, and unimportant - the opposite of how the Christian Right sees it.
The Pledge of Allegiance as Religious Practice
Some defenders of the Pledge of Allegiance argue that reciting the phrase "under God" is no worse than carrying around money that has "In God We Trust" printed on it. This argument ignores the fact that carrying money is passive while reciting a loyalty oath that injects religion into our conception of patriotism is active.
Fanatical Atheists Fighting God
A "fanatic" is someone who is motivated by extreme emotions for an unreasonable cause. Are atheists "fanatics" if they wish the government to stay out of religious matters? That isn't unreasonable. Are atheists and Buddhists "fanatics" for not wanting the Pledge of Allegiance to take sides on theological matters - like saying that this nation is "under God"?
Jefferson, Madison, Newdow?
Most Americans probably don't agree with Michael Newdow's efforts to strip the phrase "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance - but at the same time, most efforts to expand religious freedom against the desires of the majority have been unpopular. Newdow's efforts place him squarely in an American tradition that is always unpopular when it appears and then lauded later on - much later on.
Buddhist Explains Opposition to 'under God'
Defenders of the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance like to attack atheists - ignoring the fact that religious people have supported Michael Newdow's case. One religious group that filed a brief in support of removing the religious reference from the Pledge was Buddhist - but perhaps Buddhists don't really count among True Pledge Believers?
Defending 'under God' in the Pledge
he U.S. Supreme Court has heard oral arguments in the Pledge of Allegiance case, but for months conservative religious groups have been arguing in defense of the inclusion of the phrase "under God." Have they been successful? Will the Supreme Court uphold that position? Let's take a look at two common arguments, offered here by The Catholic League.
Hans Zeiger: Boy Scout for Religious Fascism?
Some of those who defend the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance do so by saying that it is devoid of any real religious content. Others, however, are more open and honest about the fact that it creates an essential connection between real patriotism and a particular sort of religious belief.
Pledge of Allegiance - Earlier News and Posts
Read an index of earlier news and posts about the Pledge of Allegiance and whether the phrase "under God" should be included in it.