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Federal Court upholds ‘One State Under God’ in Texas Pledge of Allegiance

Denies preliminary injunction; allows Texas schoolchildren to continue reciting pledge

From the Office of Greg Abbott, Attorney General of Texas

September 5, 2007

Government - Attorney General Greg Abbott picture DALLAS – Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott Aug. 28 prevailed in federal court, where a North Texas couple tried to prevent schoolchildren from reciting the Texas Pledge of Allegiance. A federal district judge ruled against David Wallace Croft and his wife, Shannon, who sought a preliminary injunction because the Texas Legislature recently added the words ‘one state under God’ to the state Pledge. Solicitor General Ted Cruz argued on the state's behalf.

“With today's ruling, a federal judge denied the plaintiffs' attempt to prevent Texas schoolchildren from pledging 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 patriotic acknowledgments of the Almighty such as these are completely consistent with the U.S. Constitution. Texans can rest assured that we will continue vigorously defending their children's ability to recite the state Pledge of Allegiance each morning.”

The plaintiffs, both professed atheists, filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. Their children are students in the Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District.

The voluntary, teacher-led recitation of the Texas Pledge typically follows the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance in classrooms across the state. According to the state's brief, the Legislature added the words “one state under God” to acknowledge the tradition and religious heritage inherent in America's founding.

The state contends the Texas Pledge is an acknowledgment of 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's brief argues that, instead of conflicting with the First Amendment, the Pledge reflects the constitutionally protected freedom of religion.

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