Monday, October 05, 2009

Fed Judge Permits 'Under God' in Schools

Federal New Hampshire court tosses lawsuit against school districts alleging improperly coerced children reciting Pledge of Allegiance

-- From "Federal judge keeps ’under God’ in Hanover pledge" by Associated Press 10/3/09

On Friday U.S. District Court Judge Steven McAuliffe dismissed claims filed in 2007 by district parents and The Freedom From Religion Foundation against the Hanover School District and the Dresden School District, located in New Hampshire and Vermont.

The groups claimed their children’s constitutional rights were violated by exposing them daily to the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance and the phrase "under God."

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From "Judge tosses challenge to 'under God'" by Bob Unruh © 2009 WorldNetDaily 10/2/09

"The court reached the only decision that it could – the lawsuit was dismissed and the court concluded that the New Hampshire statute giving students an opportunity to voluntarily recite the Pledge in school is constitutional and consistent with the First Amendment. We're pleased the court’s decision underscores the arguments made in our amicus brief: the Pledge is a time-honored exercise that embraces patriotism, not religion," [said Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the ACLJ]

The ruling from U.S. District Judge Steven McAuliffe applied several different Establishment Clause tests and held that the school districts had not violated federal standards.

The case was launched in 2007 by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, represented by California lawyer Michael Newdow, who has brought a multitude of lawsuits over the Pledge of Allegiance over the years.

. . . the court decision said the "New Hampshire Pledge statute has a secular legislative purpose. It was enacted to enhance instruction in the nation's history, and foster a sense of patriotism. Its primary effect neither advances nor inhibits religion. It does not foster excessive government involvement with religion."

"The Constitution prohibits the government from establishing a religion, or coercing one to support or participate in religion, a religious exercise, or prayer. It does not mandate that government refrain from all civic, cultural, and historic references to a God. The line is often difficult to draw, of course, and in some senses the drawn line yet has some mobility," the court said.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.