The words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance are an appeal to patriotism, not religion, and do not violate the separation of church and state, a federal appeals court ruled today - the same court that declared the pledge unconstitutional in 2002.
In a separate ruling, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel in San Francisco upheld the placement of the national motto, “In God We Trust,” on coins and currency. The language is patriotic and ceremonial, not religious, the court said.
“The Pledge of Allegiance serves to unite our vast nation through the proud recitation of some of the ideals upon which our republic was founded,” Judge Carlos Bea said in the majority opinion.
He said “one nation under God” referred to “our founding fathers’ belief that the people of this nation are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights.”
“Congress’ ostensible and predominant purpose was to inspire patriotism,” said Bea, who was joined by Judge Dorothy Nelson. “The phrase ‘one nation under God’ does not turn this patriotic exercise into a religious activity.”