'Under God' in court: Pledge of Allegiance draws new lawsuits

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  • Steve C. Warren WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    April 26, 2014 9:50 a.m.

    Although I agree that the words "under God" don't belong in the Pledge, the larger problem is that the Pledge is simply a loyalty oath more suitable to a totalitarian country than to a great free country.

    We'd be much better off if people recited the preamble to either the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence in place of the Pledge.

    Frankly, although I love my country, my allegiance is to God, not country. When a conflict arises between God and country, wise people choose God.

  • lonepeakstudent Alpine, UT
    April 25, 2014 4:34 p.m.


    Pardon me, I was not actually aware that Jehovah is an etymological derivation of Yahweh. Thankyou for correcting me.

  • UtahIndy Salt Lake City, UT
    April 25, 2014 8:37 a.m.


    I fear you may not be aware that your view on the identity of Jehovah (presumably inspired by your own faith tradition) is not the same as that of millions of others. Please be respectful to those whose beliefs may differ from yours.

    Jehovah (Yahweh) is Hebrew in origin. Ask most Hebrew-speakers if they agree with your stated interpretation. (Hint, they will not.) Nor will most adherents to many main-stream Christian denominations. Yours is in fact a minority viewpoint. As such, though it still deserves respect, please don't lecture everyone else.

  • lonepeakstudent Alpine, UT
    April 25, 2014 8:02 a.m.


    I'd also like to point out that Jehovah is another name for Christ. Not another name for the Abrahamic god.

  • lonepeakstudent Alpine, UT
    April 25, 2014 7:58 a.m.


    First, it is still exclusionary for those who do not believe in god. Second, when the name of the god is changed, the god takes on slightly different aspects. Even though the Abrahamic religions all superficially worship the same god (the god of Abraham), their concepts of deity are all slightly different. Furthermore, 'God' with a capital G refers specifically to the god of Christianity.

    @The Rock

    The court case in which SCOTUS overturned school-led prayer was Engel v. Vitale in 1962, which did in fact have a law at the root of it. "The respondent Board of Education of Union Free School District No. 9, New Hyde Park, New York, acting in its official capacity under state law, directed the School District's principal to cause the following prayer to be said aloud by each class in the presence of a teacher at the beginning of each school day." I would also refer you to McCollum v. Board of Education, in which SCOTUS found religious instruction in public schools a violation of the establishment clause and therefore unconstitutional.

  • Jamescmeyer Midwest City, USA, OK
    April 25, 2014 7:21 a.m.

    "Under God" is a key phrase. Besides more fully embodying the American spirit, it helps seperate the pledge from its somewhat communist-inspired root.

    To those who complain about it enforcing religion on you, I ask why you lack concern about your forcing irriligion on me. "Seperation of church and state" does not mean "elimination of church from state": It means not upholding any particular church or way of thought for state sponsorship. Religion in a general sense, however, is a key founding element of the nation; insisting a lack of religion is equally inappropriate to insisting one particular one.

    This is one nation under God. In God we trust. God bless America.

  • techpubs Sioux City, IA
    April 25, 2014 6:38 a.m.


    You are correct that in different languages the name we use (God) to name the Creator is different. Some say Yahweh, some Allah, some say El Senor, some say Jehova etc. So when we say God here in the US we are referring to the God of Abraham aka Ibrahim that both the Muslims and the Jewish people worship. The differences in beliefs of these groups is whether or not they believe in Jesus as the son of God, as a great prophet prior to Mohammed, or as just another man who lived around 2000 years ago.

  • The Rock Federal Way, WA
    April 24, 2014 8:36 p.m.


    Your are correct that the SCOTUS prohibited school-led prayer.
    A law is a government imposed rule. Only congress can create a law. This action by the SCOTUS violated the constitution. They legislated from the bench.

    SCOTUS has acquired the power (not granted in the constitution) of judicial review. They can declare a law unconstitutional; and the law becomes null and void. In this case there was no law in question, just a practice engaged in by virtually 100% of schools and supported by a large majority of the people.

    This ruling created law, and article 1 section 1 paragraph 1 specifically states that only Congress can do that.

  • Badgerbadger Murray, UT
    April 24, 2014 7:48 p.m.

    Everyone has a God. For some it is money. For others it is the things money can buy. For Humanists, it is humans. For others, like Environmentalists and Atheists it is nature. For those who are religious, it is the Deity they worship, who may be called Allah, or Jesus, or any number of other names.

    God is generic and applies to everyone, even though Atheists don't like to think of it that way.

  • Laura Ann Layton, UT
    April 24, 2014 5:29 p.m.

    As a high school student, I was taking a certain class where we were going to be taught sexual education in a way that I still feel was inappropriate. Permission was needed to attend. Thank goodness my mother allowed me to opt out. None of the other students teased me about my choice. If you don't like the pledge, just don't say it. As a teacher, I NEVER forced any child to do so. Sometimes I wonder if people have nothing else to do but cause unnecessary things to waste time. If you want to help this country, do something to support your local schools. Leave the pledge alone.

  • lonepeakstudent Alpine, UT
    April 24, 2014 5:03 p.m.

    @The Rock

    Thank you for that bit of Constitutional analysis, unfortunately for you, facts and the Supreme Court both disagree with you. Let's look at the facts first, SCOTUS never prohibited prayer in school, SCOTUS prohibited school-led prayer. Part of the separation of church and state is that the government does not promote one faith over another. This is why I personally believe the "under God" in the Pledge to be unconstitutional. When you say "under God" you are automatically excluding Muslims as well as Hindus, and many other religions that don't believe in "God." Muslims worship Allah, Hindus have millions of gods, are we to exclude them from the public space? One could even go as far as to argue that "under God" is exclusionary to Jewish people as well. Technically the god they believe in and worship is Yahweh. "Under God," as is being pointed out in this court case, also excludes atheists and humanists as well.

    If you would like to engage in debate with me on Constitutional theory, go right ahead. I welcome the opportunity to prove you wrong.

  • Brian Westley St. Paul, MN
    April 24, 2014 4:27 p.m.

    "Recitation of the pledge is not "required" under New Jersey state law."

    It's a reference to the NJ state law 18A:36-3(c)

    (c) Require the pupils in each school in the district on every school day to salute the United States flag and repeat the following pledge of allegiance to the flag: "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all," which salute and pledge of allegiance shall be rendered with the right hand over the heart, except that pupils who have conscientious scruples against such pledge or salute, or are children of accredited representatives of foreign governments to whom the United States government extends diplomatic immunity, shall not be required to render such salute and pledge but shall be required to show full respect to the flag while the pledge is being given merely by standing at attention, the boys removing the headdress.

    The statute requires students to exclude themselves, plus it still unconstitutionally requires them to show full respect.

  • Wilf 55 SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    April 24, 2014 3:09 p.m.

    Only in America and in some Muslim nations. In nearly all advanced Western countries there is a strict separation between church and state. Let God be praised in the religious sphere and leave him out of any political statement. Give unto Cesar ...

  • The Rock Federal Way, WA
    April 24, 2014 3:01 p.m.

    An atheist friend once asked me if I thought that the words "Under God" constituted an unconstitutional establishment of religion.

    My Answer:

    Who can create a law? He replied; Congress.
    Can the President create a law? No
    Can the courts create a law? No
    What is a law? A government imposed rule, that usually carries a penalty.

    Article 1, Section 1 Paragraph 1 of the constitution grants ALL legislative authority to a congress consisting of a House of representatives and an Senate. The first amendment state; "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion nor prohibiting the free exercise thereof."
    Since only Congress can create a law and Congress has also been prohibited from touching religion, how in the world did the Supreme court ban Prayer in School? If Congress had passed a law prohibiting prayer in school it would violate the 1st Amendment. How could it not? How then did the SCOTUS prohibit prayer in school when congress could not and it is their job to legislate?

    Further the Pledge of Allegiance is not a law, it was passed as a congressional resolution. The President did not sign it.

  • The Rock Federal Way, WA
    April 24, 2014 2:52 p.m.

    There are those who don't believe that there should be any restrictions on government. This can only be accomplished if people are convinced that government can do anything they want. In order to accomplish this they must convince people that rights are granted by government and not by God.

    If rights are granted by government, then government can rescind those rights.
    If the people believe that "all men are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights" then the task become much more difficult.

    Ironic that the rights of atheists are bound to the majority believing in God.

    April 24, 2014 2:31 p.m.

    This conversation is obnoxious. Religion is not under attack. Whether or not we say "under god" does not matter. As soon as people start limiting my ability to worship then I will agree that it is under attack. The 40s and 50s were not a better time. People were outright racist and weren't embarrassed by it. 40s and 50s were better for white Christians but not so much for everyone else. Does anyone want to argue that black people were treated better in 1945 than now?

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    April 24, 2014 1:52 p.m.

    "and Christians are being attacked at every turn."

    Interesting..., as a Christian myself I seem to have avoided any of these attacks...

    "Obama has ushered in the most polarized and divided culture in history to this nation"

    Recency bias (kinda like how Clinton and Reagan score well in "best president ever" polls). Clearly Lincoln's presidency was when we were most divided.

    "We Americans who sit on our duffs and do nothing while small minorities trample on the principles that made this country great will come to rue the day when we lost our freedom of speech"

    Freedom of speech doesn't include freedom from criticism. And besides, what principles are being trampled?

  • Meckofahess Salt Lake City, UT
    April 24, 2014 1:17 p.m.

    President Eisenhower extraordinarily wise when he said "we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America's heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country's most powerful resource, in peace or in war."

    As we continue to weaken our spiritual weapons in America over such ridiculous notions put forth by these athiest plaintiffs we will forever damage our most powerful resource!.

    We Americans who sit on our duffs and do nothing while small minorities trample on the principles that made this country great will come to rue the day when we lost our freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

    Alas, our grandchildren will ask us how we could allow this to happen to a once great nation.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    April 24, 2014 12:28 p.m.

    I actually think having "In God We Trust" or "One Nation Under God" is a complete farse in today's America and these phrases probably should be removed. America is certainly NOT 'one nation' anymore nor is America a God believing and respecting nation anymore. America has turned to the Marxist model of atheism at the national level at least and Christians are being attacked at every turn. America is only a pale shadow of what it once was during the 1940's and 1950's which repesented the BEST of America. The real question is how much longer can this country survive in tact before it tears itself completely apart? Obama has ushered in the most polarized and divided culture in history to this nation and has done so NOT by accident by on purpose.

  • liberty or ...? Ogden, UT
    April 24, 2014 12:09 p.m.

    I disagree Barfolomew, Recitation of the pledge is voluntary and although it is regular part of the day proceedings in every school I have taught at it accomodates both religous and non religous patrons as long as it is not forced. 1st amendmant expressions of belief does not mean that you are free from being exposed to religious expression if so Atheism and Darwanism should be removed from the school as well.They are after all secular theologies. I have had students recite the pledge and leave out the under God part which is fine, I have had students refuse to even state the pledge which is fine too although I think it is hypocritical to live in a country and enjoy all the priveledges and rights of being a citizen of such a nation but oweing nothing to it just because you disagree. A little mutual respect should be shown to both sides here. I won't force you to pledge to a God you don't believe in but don't take a way my public right to do so. Give and take people.

  • techpubs Sioux City, IA
    April 24, 2014 11:58 a.m.

    First of all any student has the right to not say the Pledge based on the 1943 case.
    As to whether or not this violates the Establishment Clause it becomes an issue of what religion is the State establishing. Various Christian sects, Jehovas Witnesses, Jewish sects, and Muslim sects, as well as others all have a belief in "God". Obviously they do not all use the common English designation for naming the Creator. But here in the US we use English as our common language and therefore use the English designation.

  • barfolomew TOOELE, UT
    April 24, 2014 11:40 a.m.

    "The state statute that requires daily recitation — sponsored by school, led by teacher — of the Pledge of Allegiance, obviously discriminates against atheist and humanist children."

    This is a bold faced lie. Recitation of the pledge is not "required" under New Jersey state law. Any child may opt out of saying the pledge.

    I hope they use this in their lawsuit as it will be immediately dismissed.