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Federal Judge Upholds Texas Pledge Containing Phrase Under God

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DALLAS – A Dallas federal judge today ruled that the phrase “under God” in the Texas Pledge of Allegiance is constitutional. The court’s decision rejected a lawsuit filed by a Dallas couple, who unsuccessfully argued that the state pledge violated the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause.

“Today’s ruling protects young Texans’ right to pledge their allegiance to ‘one state, under God’ – just as they pledge to ‘one nation, under God,’” Attorney General Abbott said. “The United States Supreme Court has repeatedly held that patriotic acknowledgments of the Almighty are constitutional. Texans can rest assured that we will continue defending their children’s ability to recite the state Pledge of Allegiance each morning.”

The words “under God” were added to the Texas Pledge of Allegiance in 2007. That year, the plaintiffs filed a lawsuit challenging the phrase’s constitutionality and sought an injunction banning its use.

Voluntary, teacher-led recitations of the Texas Pledge typically follow the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance in public school classrooms across the state.

The state successfully argued that the Texas Pledge acknowledges patriotism and citizenship. It is a practice that mirrors the Declaration of Independence’s self-evident truths that citizens are “endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” The Attorney General argued that the Pledge reflects the constitutionally protected freedom of religion.

The Texas pledge, amended in 2007, reads: “Honor the Texas flag; I pledge allegiance to thee, Texas, one state under God, one and indivisible.”

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