A federal appeals court has upheld the use of the words “under God” in the Texas Pledge of Allegiance.
In June 2007, the legislature added “under God” to its state pledge, which now reads, “Honor the Texas flag; I pledge allegiance to thee, Texas, one state under God, one and indivisible.”
Parents of a public school student in the Dallas area filed a lawsuit, charging a violation of separation of church and state. A district court and the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed.
The appeals court, following the U.S. Supreme Court’s argument, said it’s not a First Amendment violation for schools to recite the words, but no student can be coerced to say them.
The court also claimed in Croft v. Perry that the pledge is a patriotic exercise and that the words “under God” are merely an acknowledgment of Texas’s religious heritage.
“The pledge can constitutionally acknowledge the existence of, and even value, a religious belief without impermissibly favoring that value or belief, without advancing belief over non-belief, and without coercing participation in a religious exercise,” asserted the court. “Texas’s pledge is of this sort and consequently survives this challenge.”