Supreme Court considering constitutionality of the pledge - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Supreme Court considering constitutionality of the pledge

Alex Sanz/Eyewitness News

Indianapolis, March 24 - In Heidi Anderson's fifth grade class at Indianapolis Public School 60 mornings start with a quick lesson and the Pledge of Allegiance.

It is the words "under God" that sends the issue of the pledge in schools to the nation's highest court.

The Supreme Court is taking up a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision that those two words make the pledge unconstitutional.

Michael Newdow is the plaintiff in the case. "The violation is that the government is taking a position on religion. They're forbidden from doing that by the establishment clause."

"This phrase, 'God', when you talk about money and when you talk about oaths, isn't really signifying something religious," says appeals court lawyer Tom Goldstein. "It's been part of our national culture for decades and sometimes more than a century."

And that's the consensus Eyewitness News found among parents during a spot check of the Indianapolis school.

Nate Bird says, "The country was built on faith and God and loyalty to the country and family and I don't think the Pledge of Allegiance specifies what God."

"Someone who doesn't believe in God, just like we have to respect them they should respect us, too," says Raevena Webster. "And since it's always been that way, why change it?"

Betty Conklin, the principal at School 60 says, "The children, if their parents object because of the reason "under God," they wouldn't have to say the pledge. It's not mandatory."

So for now mornings at IPS 60, and elsewhere, will stay the same. The Supreme Court will decide if the pledge is patriotic or a declaration of religion.

A new poll shows that Americans overwhelmingly support the reference to God. In the Associated Press survey almost nine in 10 people said the reference to God belongs in the pledge despite constitutional questions about the separation of church and state.

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