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One nation under God That phrase isnt part of the Constitution and may not be constitutional in the Pledge of Allegiance but many Americans have made it clear those four words embody their feelings toward the nation no matter what the courts say In this post-Sept 11 year when people from coast to coast have prayed together at innumerable memorial events and have sung God Bless America in classrooms and baseball stadiums this summers federal court ruling on the pledge could hardly have caused more outrage It was the most dramatic example of a phenomenon thats been going on for years The courts try to restrict public expressions of non-denominational religion but on the streets people dont accept the ruling The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals banned the use of under God in public school recitations of the pledge because the US Constitution forbids an establishment of religion by government That decision has been labeled absurd asinine heinous mindless outrageous very dangerous and just nuts by an assortment of Democrats Republicans and religious commentators The day of the ruling June 26 the US Senate passed an instant denunciation 99-0 and House members gathered in defiance on the Capitol steps to recite the pledge Even the Anti-Defamation League which ardently advocates church-state separation declared the ruling goes against the culture and traditions of this country Roman Catholic philosopher Michael Novak says that part of the reason for the reaction is that in times of crisis like the war on terrorism many Americans tap a reservoir of national understanding that includes public religiosity Likewise Boston College sociologist Alan Wolfe thinks its natural that people turn to religious values to express themselves Of course Michael Newdow the plaintiff in the pledge case doesnt think that recitations of under God are tolerant toward atheists and last week he filed a
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