Texas Attorney General Leads Battle to Keep "Under God" in the Pledge - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

6/14/06

Texas Attorney General Leads Battle to Keep "Under God" in the Pledge

You may have noticed a lot more red, white and blue around town. That's because it's Flag Day.

In 1949, President Truman signed legislation designating June 14th as Flag Day. The idea originated with a Wisconsin schoolteacher in the 1880's. He picked June 14 because that is when the Continental Congress adopted Old Glory as the U.S. flag in 1777.

Much controversy has centered around the United States flag and many lives have been lost defending it. Now Attorneys General across the country are backing a friend-of-court brief supporting the Pledge of Allegiance we say in honor of the flag.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is actually leading this battle. Abbott worked to get all 49 other state Attorneys General to sign the brief.

It was filed with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in California, asking the court to allow schoolchildren to say "one nation under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Attorney and self proclaimed atheist Michael Newdow brought the case before the United States Supreme Court back in 2003, saying the words "under God" violate the separation of church and state. Justices dismissed it on a technicality.

Then last year a San Francisco judge said the pledge cannot be recited in public schools because it contains a reference to God.

Now, the 9th Circuit Court is hearing an appeal to that ruling and that's where Abbott and all the other Attorneys General come in. "We authored a brief defending the pledge that was in turn joined by every single state in the union," said Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz.

Abbott says although this ruling currently only affects San Francisco, it could greatly impact Texas and all other states. "What the California court rules will set federal law for the states in the 9th Circuit which in turn impacts the entire nation," Cruz said.

He says now is the time to defend the words "under God," and the Lubbock residents we spoke with agree.

"When you say the Pledge of Allegiance God is there."

"Our nation was found upon religion. "

"That's what this country was founded on."

"That's what our nation was built on."

"I think God is very important because he made this country possible."

This case is pending in the federal court of appeals. The court still has to hear oral arguments before a decision is made. That's decision is likely to come within the next year.

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