The U.S. Senate on Thursday approved a resolution cosponsored by U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) that defends the constitutionality of the Pledge of Allegiance and the principles of religious freedom on which it is based.
Introduced by Senator Mike Braun (R-Ind.), S.Res.715 notes that Congress added the words “Under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954 and withstood Supreme Court challenges to allow recitation of the pledge in schools and other public settings.
“The Pledge of Allegiance was founded on ideals of religious freedom, and has been a valuable part of our national life for generations,” Hyde-Smith said. “I’m pleased the Senate has unanimously reaffirmed our dedication to defending the Pledge.”
Senators Tom Tillis (R-N.C.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), James Risch (R-Ind.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), David Perdue (R-Ga.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) also cosponsored the resolution.
The following is the text of the resolution:
Expressing support for the Pledge of Allegiance.
Whereas the United States was founded on principles of religious freedom by the Founders, many of whom were deeply religious;
Whereas the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States embodies principles intended to guarantee freedom of religion both through the free exercise thereof and by prohibiting the Government from establishing a religion;
Whereas the Pledge of Allegiance was written by Francis Bellamy, a Baptist Minister, and first published in the September 8, 1892, issue of the Youth’s Companion;
Whereas, in 1954, Congress added the words “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance;
Whereas, for over 60 years, the Pledge of Allegiance has included references to the United States flag, to the country having been established as a union “under God”, and to the country being dedicated to securing “liberty and justice for all”;
Whereas, in 1954, Congress believed it was acting constitutionally when it revised the Pledge of Allegiance;
Whereas the Senate of the 116th Congress believes that the Pledge of Allegiance is a constitutional expression of patriotism;
Whereas patriotic songs, engravings on United States legal tender, and engravings on Federal buildings also contain general references to “God”;
Whereas the Supreme Court overturned Newdow v. United States Congress, 328 F.3d 466 (9th Cir. 2003), a case in which the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance by a student’s public school teacher violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States; and
Whereas the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit later concluded that its previous opinion in Newdow was no longer binding precedent, that case law from the Supreme Court of the United States concerning the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the
Constitution of the United States had subsequently changed, and that Congress, when passing the new version of the Pledge of Allegiance, established a secular purpose for the use of the terms “under God” and, thus, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
upheld the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance by public school teachers:
Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That—
(1) the Pledge of Allegiance has been a valuable part of life for the people of the United States for generations; and
(2) the Senate strongly defends the constitutionality of the Pledge of Allegiance.
Release from Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith.