Atheist Michael Newdow challenged 'under God' in the Pledge of Allegiance and 'in God we trust' on US currency as unconstitutional endorsements of religion. But the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals said the references to God are grounded in historical philosophy and politics.
An atheist activist from Sacramento failed to convince a federal court in California that references to God in the Pledge of Allegiance and on US currency are unconstitutional endorsements of religion.
In two separate cases, Michael Newdow, who previously challenged the Pledge in a case that reached the US Supreme Court in 2004, attempted to further his long-running campaign to strip references to God from the public domain.
In Mr. Newdow’s latest case against “under God” in the Pledge, the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals panel ruled, in a 2-to-1 decision, that the schoolroom routine for millions of children is not a violation of the Constitution, but a historical reflection of the Founding Fathers’ beliefs that “serves to unite our vast nation.”
“Not every mention of God or religion by our government or at the government’s direction is a violation of the Establishment Clause,” wrote Judge Carlos Bea for the majority in the opinion that was issued Thursday.
“Without knowing the history behind these words, one might well think the phrase 'one Nation under God' could not be anything but religious,” wrote Judge Bea. “History, however, shows these words have an even broader meaning, one grounded in philosophy and politics and reflecting many events of historical significance.”