Pledging Allegiance to Civil Religion

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is having trouble deciding whether pledging allegiance to a nation “under God” violates the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause.  The first panel to hear the case ruled that this statement was an unconstitutional establishment of religion; on rehearing, a different panel ruled otherwise because students are not forced to recite it.

I’m sure that this will be heard en banc by all the Ninth Circuit judges, and then it will go the Supreme Court.  Chief Justice John Roberts (a Catholic) probably has the votes to find it is constitutional.

Ironically, this really has nothing to do with spiritual religion — it’s all about American civil religion.  Nothing in the First Amendment prohibits the establishment or promotion of civil religion.

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