We might or might not have God on our side, but it's OK (so far) to have him in the Pledge of Allegiance and on our money.
The federal court that touched off a furor in 2002 by declaring the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance to be an unconstitutional endorsement of religion took another look at the issue Thursday and said the phrase invokes patriotism, not religious faith.
[. . .]
In a separate ruling, the same panel upheld the use of the national motto, "In God We Trust," on coins and currency. The language is patriotic and ceremonial, not religious, the court said.
Both cases came from Michael Newdow, who has been filing suits like this for years. If he ever gets tired of it, maybe he can train Eric Workman as a replacement:
A Greenwood high school honor student who learned in class about court rulings striking down school prayer has found a real-world application -- his own graduation ceremony.
Eric Workman's lawsuit, filed Thursday by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, challenges the high school's practice of allowing seniors to vote on whether to have a student-led prayer at graduation.
Workman will most likely win his case; the Supreme Court has ruled his way in similar cases, for instance forbidding student-delivered prayers at football games, even if the kids voted for them. And the vote at Greenwood was engineered by the school and held at a mandatory assembly. I'm not sure about the Pledge ruling, either. "Under God" wasn't added to it until 1954 and, as the dissenting judge in the 2-1 ruling noted, the members of Congress who did it were pretty much going for the religious angle, not a patriotic one. I do like the idea, though, that the notion that we have pre-existing rights, whether they're called "natural" or "God-given," that are not to be touched by any government is being kept alive somewhere, even if just our coins or in a classroom pledge.
And all of this is so far removed from the Founders' concerns about the federal government establishing a national religion that it amazes me so much time and effort is wasted on it. Oops, guess I'm contributing.