In 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower signed a bill passed by Congress that put the words “under God” within the phrase “one nation indivisible.” The pledge of allegiance

In response to the Communist threat of the times.

Legal cases

1998 - Dr. Michael Newdow files suit against the school board of Broward County (Florida) to get the phrase "under God" removed from the pledge. The suit is dismissed for lack of standing. Sandy Banning, the mother of the girl, says that her daughter is not an atheist and has not been harmed by saying the pledge in school. Banning and Newdow have faced custody issues over their daughter.

June 26, 2002 - The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decides that reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools is an unconstitutional "endorsement of religion" because of the phrase "under God."

August 10, 2005 - The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upholds a Virginia law that requires public schools to recite the Pledge of Allegiance daily, and rejects a claim that its reference to God is an unconstitutional promotion of religion. The court states that the pledge is not an affirmation of religion similar to a prayer, but simply a patriotic exercise.

January 2009 - Frazier vs. Alexandre - The U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals issues a ruling stating under parents' written request, schools can excuse a student from reciting the pledge regardless of the student's personal beliefs.

November 12, 2010 - The First U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upholds a lower court ruling that a New Hampshire law requiring schools to recite the pledge is not unconstitutional.

October 5, 2012 - State of Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signs legislation that will give all Michigan students the freedom of reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in class.

May 9, 2014 - The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts rules that the Pledge of Allegiance does not discriminate against atheists, saying that the words "under God" represent a patriotic, not a religious, exercise.

House Bill 1750, sponsored by Shane Roden (R- Cedar Hill), specifies publicly funded schools in Missouri must recite the Pledge of Allegiance at least once a day. The previous Missouri requirement was to only say the Pledge once a week.

Based on several rulings by the United States Supreme Court, government sponsored prayer in America's public schools is unconstitutional. This means teachers, school administrators, and coaches cannot force students to pray at school. Schools are allowed to have a moment of silence, during which a student can pray. Nothing prevents a student from praying during the day as long as it doesn't disrupt classroom activities.


The Supreme Court has found that it is constitutional for a school district to allow religious groups to use school property for meetings during non-instructional hours if the school district’s policy allows other community groups to use its facilities. Both decisions involved rental of public schools by religious groups. Once a school district has adopted such a policy, it generally creates a “limited public forum.” This means that the government may still regulate speech occurring on its property; however, the government’s restrictions on speech in these types of forums must be made on a viewpoint neutral basis. It should also be noted, that school districts may restrict all outside groups from using school facilities. Certainly, the school district can restrict the use of its property to only school-sponsored events and/or activities.

Bronx Household of Faith v. Board of Educ. of City of New York no. 11-386, 2011 WL 4479210 (U.S., 2011).

Lamb’s Chapel v. Center Moriches Union Free School District, 508 U.S. 384 (1993)

Good News Club v. Milford Central School, 533 U.S. 98 (2001)

Created By
Vanessa Kinney


Created with images by Infrogmation - "Wisdom from General Eisenhower" • stevendepolo - "One Nation Under God -- Pledge of Allegiance 5-9-09 7" • USAG-Humphreys - "HAS rings in new school year" • regan76 - "Happy Fourth of July! This is the patriotic print I did a few weeks back with @thepcpress. Extra info: our Pledge of Allegiance was penned by Francis Bellamy, a 37 year old NY preacher, as a part of a patriotic tribute at the start of the Columbian Expos" • JaimeWiebel - "child praying hands bible pray" • justine warrington - "school" • Tim Green aka atoach - "... we used to laugh a lot"

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