Civil Liberties Groups React to the Pledge Clause

February 14, 2004

Source: Americans United for Separation of Church and State

On February 14, 2004 Americans United for Separation of Church and State reported that "Americans United and allied civil liberties groups filed a friend-of-the-court brief Feb. 13 insisting that the U.S. Constitution bars public school officials from leading students in the Pledge of Allegiance because addition of the words 'under God' has turned the patriotic ritual into an affirmation of religious belief... The 30-page brief filed in Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow argues that public school promotion of the Pledge 'communicates to schoolchildren a forbidden message of government endorsement of religion' and 'pressures schoolchildren to profess religious belief and affirm religious ideals.' This violates the First Amendment’s church-state separation provision, and the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was on solid constitutional ground when it ruled last year that public schools may not sponsor daily recitation of the Pledge."