By TERENCE CHEA (AP) 3 days ago
SAN FRANCISCO; A federal appeals court upheld the use of the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance and "In God We Trust" on U.S. currency, rejecting arguments Thursday that the phrases violate the separation of church and state.
The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel rejected two legal challenges by Sacramento atheist Michael Newdow, who said the references to God are unconstitutional and infringe on his religious beliefs.
The same appeals court caused a national uproar and prompted accusations of judicial activism when it decided in Newdow's favor in 2002, ruling that the pledge violated the First Amendment prohibition against government endorsement of religion.
President George W. Bush called the 2002 decision "ridiculous," senators passed a resolution condemning the ruling and Newdow received death threats.
That lawsuit reached the U.S. Supreme Court in 2004, but the high court said Newdow lacked the legal standing to file the suit because he didn't have custody of his daughter, on whose behalf he brought the case.
So Newdow filed an identical challenge on behalf of other parents who objected to the recitation of the pledge at school. In 2005, a federal judge in Sacramento decided in Newdow's favor, prompting the appeals court to take up the case again.
Judge Carlos Bea, who was appointed by Bush in 2003, wrote for the majority in Thursday's 2-1 ruling.
"The Pledge of Allegiance serves to unite our vast nation through the proud recitation of some of the ideals upon which our Republic was founded," he said.
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For your consideration, here is a Urantia Book quote which speaks of the separation of church and state as a "great peace move...":
70:1.14 7. Religion—the desire to make converts to the cult. The primitive religions all sanctioned war. Only in recent times has religion begun to frown upon war. The early priesthoods were, unfortunately, usually allied with the military power. One of the great peace moves of the ages has been the attempt to separate church and state.
Is our pledge's referral to God disregarding this attempt?
Does inclusion of God's name violate the separation of church and state?