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Monday, June 14, 2004

Worth repeating here...

Do Not Recite the Pledge of Allegiance in Public Schools
WHEREAS freedom of religion is one of the founding principles of our nation, and

WHEREAS freedom of religion includes freedom to worship or not worship any god, or gods, or no god, and

WHEREAS the United States government is expressly forbidden from establishing or endorsing any religion by the First Amendment to the Constitution, and

WHEREAS acknowledging the existence of a god is endorsing a religious belief, and

WHEREAS the public school system is a branch of the United States government,

We the undersigned believe that having public school teachers or administrators lead their students in any recitation or song acknowledging the existence of a god (such as the Pledge of Allegiance as currently composed, or 'God Bless America') is an unconstitutional endorsement of a religious belief as well as an unconstitutional requirement that students acknowledge this belief, in those schools where students are required to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

We do not wish to ban all discussion of religious concepts in the public forum, as all forms of public and private speech are protected by the First Amendment. We believe students and teachers should be allowed to discuss religious concepts with each other both during and outside of school hours. However, we believe there is a vital difference between discussing religious concepts and leading groups of people in observances containing religious endorsements.

We believe that schools should teach about and discuss various religions, as religion is a valid topic of cultural and historical study. However, leading students in recitations or songs with religious concepts does not constitute teaching about religion, rather it constitutes endorsing religion.

Based on the above points, we the undersigned indicate our agreement with the Ninth U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals regarding their recent decision and their subsequent confirmation of the same decision determining that leading students in recitations of the Pledge of Allegiance containing the phrase 'under god' is unconstitutional, and we urge the Supreme Court of the United States to affirm this ruling, if it should come before them. We likewise encourage others who wish to see complete religious freedom restored to the United States, for both nonbelievers as well as believers, to bring similar lawsuits.


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