House OKs bill to block court rulings on 'under God'
Onslaught of court-stripping proposals
Oct 19, 2004
The U.S. House approval of a bill that would prevent courts from ruling on whether “under God” belongs in the Pledge of Allegiance has prompted a quick response from groups concerned about religious freedom and what critics called a series of “court-stripping” bills.
By a vote of 247-173, the House on September 23 passed the legislation that could affect the Supreme Court as well as lower federal courts. It would prohibit them from hearing cases involving the recitation of the pledge and prevent federal courts from striking the words “under God” from it.
The Baptist Joint Committee, a Washington-based group that endorses church-state separation, called the Pledge Protection Act “a dangerous attack on our country’s religious freedom and our system of government.” Said Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, “The supporters of this bill have shown callous disregard for longstanding constitutional principles.”