Pledge Recitations In Virginia Schools Upheld By Court

Recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools has won approval from a federal appellate court.

On Aug. 10, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against a Virginia parent who objected to the phrase “one nation under God” in the Pledge. A three-judge panel held that recitation of the Pledge is constitutional because it is a patriotic ritual, not a religious one.

“Undoubtedly,” wrote Judge Karen Williams in the Myers v. Loudoun County Schools decision, “the Pledge contains a religious phrase, and it is demeaning to persons of any faith to assert that the words ‘under God’ contain no religious significance. The inclusion of those two words, however, does not alter the nature of the Pledge as a patriotic activity.”

Edward Myers, a Sterling, Va., man, objected to school use of the Pledge on religious grounds. The father of three said the Loudoun County schools were effectively indoctrinating his children in a “God and country” worldview that violates his Men¬nonite faith.

“The combination of God and country approaches a civic religion that is in competition with my religion,” he said.