5th Circuit rejects parents’ challenge of Texas pledge

Thursday, October 14, 2010

DALLAS — A federal appeals court has rejected a bid by Dallas-area parents to have “under God” removed from the Texas pledge of allegiance that is recited every day by public schoolchildren.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said yesterday's ruling in Croft v. Perry was a victory for the constitutionally protected rights and freedoms of all Texans.

The words “under God” were added to the pledge in 2007 by the Texas Legislature.

U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade ruled in 2009 that the Texas pledge can reference God because several other state pledges and the national pledge reference God or divine grace.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday upheld Kinkeade’s dismissal of David and Shannon Croft’s lawsuit. The appeals court rejected the argument brought by the Crofts and two other unidentified parents that the phrase violated the separation of church and state.

Judge E. Grady Jolly, writing for the unanimous three-judge panel, said: “We conclude that the use of ‘under God’ acknowledges but does not endorse religious belief.”

Jolly added, “Despite the challenged ‘under God’ amendment, the pledge’s effect remains patriotic; its religious component is minimal and, when contextualized, clearly understandable as an acknowledgment of the state’s religious heritage.”

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