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Pledge of Allegiance and Freedom of Religion - Essay Example

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The 2004 case of Elk vs. Newdow pertains to the U.S. Supreme Court decision pertaining to the relevance of the Establishment Clause when the Pledge of Allegiance is recited in schools…
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Pledge of Allegiance and Freedom of Religion
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Download file to see previous pages He believed that the Pledge of Allegiance, due to the inclusion of the phrase “under one God” violated the Establishment Clause of the constitution that clearly states that Congress shall never enact any “law respecting the establishment of religion”. He believed that the phrase infringed on his right to raise his daughter based upon his personal religious beliefs.
The United States Pledge of Allegiance does include a reference to “one God” in the latter part of the pledge and this is oftentimes challenged by others who misunderstand the reference to one god as an endorsement of a specific religion rather than a unifying statement meant to bring the country together, united under a belief that there is a God. Not that there is only one God being promoted as the sole religion of the nation. It is not possible for the people who wrote the pledge to endorse any single religion because of the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment. However, the United States is a country that was established upon many religious beliefs which helped unite the nation and our forebears wished to make reference to the same in the pledge. There was actually nothing political about it when the pledge was originally written. A political religious statement was the farthest thing from the minds of the authors of the pledge. Michael Newdow, the man who doggedly pursued the case all the way to the United State Supreme Court was the non custodial father of a daughter who attended school in the Elk Grove Unified School District. It was his belief that the pledge violated his right to educate his child in the religion of his belief which is why he pursued an Establishment Clause argument against the phrase he deemed offensive to himself and his beliefs. Unlucky for him, both the lower courts and the U.S. Supreme Court did not find any reason to side with him in their rulings. He failed in all 3 of his attempts to pursue the case. It was the decision of the Supreme Court that the phrase “one nation under God” could not be challenged (“Court Dismisses Pledge Suit”) even while not clearly defining the separation between church and state. One of the reasons that Newdow lost his case was because he was not the legal guardian of his daughter. His ex-wife had sole legal custody of the child which also covered the decision as to where and how she would be attending school. As such, he did not have any legal authority on behalf of his daughter to file suit against the school district. It was the opinion of the court that the children who recite the Pledge of Allegiance do so without any violation to the U.S constitution. The judges who favored this ruling include Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, Sandra Day O'Connor, and Clarence Thomas. The Establishment Clause is one part of the U.S Constitution that often comes under fire from the atheists and other religious groups because of their belief that Congress often tries to force religion upon people even though the First Amendment clearly states that “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of a religion.” That is why under the Establishment Clause, there are provisions that prohibit the establishment of a national religion by Congress and does not allow the U.S. government to have a preference for one religion over another. This is the point where misinterpretations often occur. There is a common misinterpretation that the Pledge of Allegiance promotes Christianity. That is because our constitution was founded upon the Christian principles that existed during that time. As such, most of the policies from that era reflect that belief. But the pledge does not specifically make mention of a “Christian God” ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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