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Pledge of Allegiance

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

A California atheist says it has no place in school.

Michael Newdow told the Supreme Court Wednesday that the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance are unconstitutional and offend people who don't believe in God.

Newdow had filed a lawsuit, objecting to the reciting of the Pledge in his young daughter's classroom. The court is hearing arguments on whether the words "under God" violate the line between church and state.

Newdow told the court that the government should stay out of religion. And he says the disputed words amount to "indoctrinating children."

But some justices said they're not sure if the words are aimed at expressing religion -- or simply uniting the country.

Chief Justice William Rehnquist noted that Congress unanimously added the words "under God" to the pledge in 1954.

Newdow replied, "That's only because no atheists can be elected to office." Some in the audience started clapping, and the chief justice threatened to kick them out.


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