Pledge Case Sparks Disagreement Over Height of Church/State "Wall"

March 24, 2004

Source: The Christian Science Monitor

On March 24, 2004 The Christian Science Monitor ran an in-depth article on the issues surrounding the U.S. Supreme Court hearing of the case on "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance: "At issue is whether the inclusion of the words 'under God' in the Pledge - as recited by schoolchildren nationwide - amounts to a violation of the separation of church and state. The case, set to be argued Wednesday at the Supreme Court, cuts to the heart of a long-running dispute over how best to preserve and protect religious liberty. It also raises a more fundamental question: Why would America's Founding Fathers, who wrote so eloquently of their 'firm reliance on the protection of divine providence' in the Declaration of Independence, use not a single devotional word or phrase in the Constitution and Bill of Rights? Instead, the First Amendment forbids any law 'respecting an establishment of religion.' Courts have interpreted that provision as mandating a 'wall' between church and state. But justices, judges, lawyers, scholars, political leaders, and members of the clergy differ over how high or low that wall should be."