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Constitution Protects Pledge But Judicial Activism Says Its Unconstitutional

For Immediate Release. June 25, 2002Judicial activism once again has misinterpreted the “establishment clause” of the First Amendment of the Constitution when on June 26, 2002, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a 1954 act of Congress inserting the phrase “under God” after the words “one nation” in the pledge.  The phrase violates the so-called “establishment clause” in the Constitution that requires a separation of church and state according to the court. For many years now, the courts have failed to act with restraint, and have not deferred to the policy-making prerogatives of democratically-elected officials and institutions such as the Congress, the President, and state legislatures.  Instead they have promoted judicial policy making.

The First Amendment’s “establishment clause” must be interpreted narrowly rather than broadly.  This is clearly observed from other acts and writings of the Founding Fathers, particularly James Madison and Thomas Jefferson.  It surely does not mean that all religious influence and traditions in public and national life are prohibited by the declaration that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”  Simply what the “establishment clause”  means is that the federal government may not establish a state church or give any church or denomination legal preference. 

Dependence on God has been acknowledged by this nation from its earliest days.  For example, prayer has always opened each session of Congress given by a chaplain employed by the government, and to its members this chaplain can provide religious counsel.  A depiction of the Ten Commandments is prominently displayed on the walls of the Supreme Court.  When the President takes his oath of office he does so with his hand placed upon a Bible.  Proclamations calling for days of thanksgiving or national prayer are frequently issued by Presidents.  Furthermore, in Presidential inaugural addresses, God has been acknowledged by every President. 

“The acknowledgment of God in public functions, in the Founding Fathers’ point of view and in ninetieth-century America was never seen as a conflict between the First Amendment’s ‘establishment clause;’ and rightfully so, since there is none,” stated Dr. Joel P. Rutkowski, president of the American Voice Institute of Public Policy.

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Joel P. Rutkowski, P.h.D.
President, The American Voice Institute Of Public Policy

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