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“One nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.” Do these words violate the religious freedom guaranteed by our Constitution? Last month a federal court declared the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional. Is this absurd? Or is this religious freedom? Read more about the history of the Pledge, and its current controversy at these five sites.
American Treasures: A Matter of Conscience
In 1935, ten-year-old Billy Gobitas wrote to his Pennsylvania school board explaining that he wouldn’t recite the Pledge of Allegiance because it violated the biblical commandment not to worship any “graven images.” He and his sister were expelled from school for their beliefs. As you learn about the three ensuing court decisions, consider the similarities and differences with the recent Newdow case.
CNN.com: Vast Majority in U.S. Support “Under God”
CNN reports on a Newsweek poll that shows ninety percent of Americans believe the phrase “under God” should remain in the Pledge of Allegiance, and that it is acceptable for the government to promote religious expression, as long as no specific religion is mentioned. Don’t leave without visiting the links in the sidebar below the text of the Pledge. Those listed under CNN NewsPass Video require a paid subscription, but the rest are free. Best clicks are History of the Pledge, and a printable PDF download of the Newdow v. U.S. Congress court decision.
The Original Pledge of Allegiance
The Pledge of Allegiance was written 110 years ago to be recited by school children on Colombus Day, 1892, in celebration of the quadricentennial of Columbus’ arrival. This article from the USFlag.org site gives a brief history of changes to the Pledge, up to the most recent change in June of 1954 when the words “under God” were added. Other pages cover the history of the flag itself, Flag Day and the Star Spangled Banner.
Story and Meaning of Pledge
So what exactly does “indivisible” mean? Visit FlagDay.org to learn the meaning of each line of the Pledge, and then scroll down to read about the two men who both claim to have written the Pledge of Allegiance. Francis Bellamy and James Upham both worked at the magazine which published the original Pledge, and both families said they had evidence to substantiate their claims of authorship. The matter was settled in 1939 by a committee of the United States Flag Association. Visit to read all about it.
Time for Kids: Pledge of Allegiance Under Fire
On June 26, a three judge panel of a California federal court ruled 2-1 that the Pledge of Allegiance violates the United States Constitution. This Time for Kids article explains the controversial decision, and introduces the man who started the suit: Sacramento father, Michael Newdow. Best clicks are the comments from kids, which can be read by scrolling with the purple arrows in the sidebar. Got something to say? Send it in by clicking on the link at the bottom of the Say What? insert.