I will add this observation, however. It is interesting that the commentators who have pointed out that the 9th Circuit panel’s opinion banning the Pledge was not inconsistent with the logic of various Supreme Court decisions have pretty much all made this point in defense of the panel; few have considered it a reductio ad absurdum that exposed the folly of those Supreme Court decisions themselves. The relevant language of the First Amendment prohibits Congress (no reference to local school boards) from enacting any laws “respecting an establishment of religion.” To the framers, the word “establishment” had a very specific meaning; England had an established church, the Church of England. From the 18th century on, there was debate over whether this was a good idea, and in the 19th century the “disestablishment” movement succeeded in ending government control over and support for the Anglican Church. This is the context in which the framers used the word “establish.” They didn’t say that Congress shouldn’t support religion or advocate religion or call on religious faith in times of trial or say or do things that suppose the truth or value of religion (which the founders themselves, of course, did frequently). They merely said that in America, we will not have a nationally-established, official religious faith. This portion of the First Amendment has been scrupulously observed, as, unlike England and many other countries, the United States has never had a state religion. In my view, the establishment clause should never have come into play to invalidate any action of Congress (let alone a local school board) from 1789 to the present.
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“Arise and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time.” Winston Churchill
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