A Senate committee unanimously supported keeping the words "under God" in the Pledge on Allegiance on Wednesday.

HJR3 already passed through the House and now moves to the Senate for debate.

Sponsor Rep. Kerry Gibson, R-Ogden, said that his bill comes "from the strong desire to keep the reference of the deity" in the pledge.

"If we truly believe that all men are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, then this is the public affirmation of that belief," Gibson said.

Utahns and Americans must understand that their unalienable rights come not from the state — for surely they will lose those rights if they believe so — but from God. And as such, states can't take those rights away, he said.

"We must affirm unequivocally to the courts and the people of this state that we understand the basic truth that because of, not in spite, god, that each of us are born free," he said.