The Secular Coalition for American Educates Senator on the Pledge

Last month Senator Mike Braun, (R-Indiana) introduced a Senate Resolution ostensibly simply supporting the Pledge of Allegiance. In fact a significant portion of the text summarizes the legal history behind the religious controversies arising from reciting the Pledge in schools, primarily the dispute over the addition of “under God”. The Resolution ends with “the Senate strongly defends the constitutionality of the Pledge of Allegiance.” You can read the text of the Resolution here. As a Senate Resolution it does not go to the House or the President.

The Secular Coalition for America responded with a letter to Senator Braun. You can read the letter here, but it concludes as follows:

"It seems as though it should be possible to construct a Resolution that celebrates the Pledge of Allegiance without relitigating the 80 years of controversy it has created and without emphasizing the addition to the Pledge that millions of Americans do not agree with. When you prepare next July’s Senate Resolution, perhaps the words of Justice Robert Jackson could serve as a guide. He delivered the opinion for the majority in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette. [In 1943 the Supreme Court found that students could not be forced to recite the Pledge.]

“If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion, or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein. If there are any circumstances which permit an exception, they do not now occur to us.”

SCA was proud to be joined by sixteen of our member organizations on this letter to Senator Braun. Contact your own representatives about the Pledge of Allegiance here.

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