Americans United for Separation of Church and State today hailed the House Judiciary Committee’s defeat of a bill that would have stripped the federal courts of their ability to hear cases involving the Pledge of Allegiance.
The so-called “Pledge Protection Act” (H.R. 2389) failed on a 15-15 vote this morning. One Republican, U.S. Rep. Bob Inglis of South Carolina, voted with 14 Democrats to scuttle the measure.
The bill was heavily backed by Religious Right groups, which seek to undercut the authority of the federal courts to rule on church-state issues.
“This is a tremendous victory,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of American United. “A proposal this at odds with our system of government should never have come up for a vote to begin with.”
Lynn noted that the bill is an assault on the fundamental right of Americans, especially religious minorities, to stand up for their rights in court.
“Far from protecting the Pledge of Allegiance,” Lynn said, “this misguided measure trampled on the rights of Americans and tried to force an unnecessary showdown between two branches of government.”
Americans United for Separation of Church and State 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 the safeguarding religious freedom.
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.