September 16, 2005

Court Rules "Under God" Inappropriate in School

Some good news for a change! The following is a press release from Americans United for the Separation of Church and State:

PRESS RELEASE ** PRESS RELEASE ** PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release
September 14, 2005

Americans United for Separation of Church and State
Contact: Joe Conn, Rob Boston or Jeremy Leaming
202.466.3234 telephone
202.466.2587 fax

FEDERAL COURT RULING ON 'UNDER GOD' IN PLEDGE SHOWS RESPECT FOR RELIGIOUS DIVERSITY, SAYS AMERICANS UNITED

Public Schools Should Not Require Students To Affirm Belief In God In Order To Express Patriotism, Says Church-State Watchdog Group

A federal district court decision against use of "under God" in public school recitations of the Pledge of Allegiance shows respect for religious diversity, says Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton ruled today in Sacramento, Calif., that public school sponsorship of the Pledge violates students' right to be "free from a coercive requirement to affirm God."

"The court's decision was correct as a matter of Establishment Clause jurisprudence," said Americans United Legal Director Ayesha Khan. "The Constitution forbids government to intervene in religious matters.

"America is a very diverse nation," Khan continued. "We have some 2,000 different denominations and faith groups, as well as many Americans who choose no religious path at all. It is wrong for public schools to ask students to affirm a religious belief in order to express their patriotism."

Khan noted that some religious traditions use different names for the deity, while other faiths believe in more than one god. Others regard governmental appropriation of God as theologically unacceptable.

"America faces many challenges today," Khan concluded. "We can best meet those challenges if we are united as a people. Americans should never be made to feel excluded from our national life because they have the 'wrong' views about religion."

Today's decision came in a lawsuit brought by Michael Newdow on behalf of three California parents and their children. (Newdow v. Congress of the United States of America)

Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.

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