Court bans pledge from western schools
Published 1:00 pm Friday, July 5, 2002
By By Caitlin Channell and Beth Anderson, Staff Writers
A ruling passed down Wednesday by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals bars the Pledge of Allegiance from being recited in public schools in nine Western states because of its religious content - and it has caused a flurry of objections.
The 2-1 ruling overturns a 1954 congressional act that added the phrase "under God" in the pledge under President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
The ruling only affects schools in nine Western states, which fall under the 9th circuit's jurisdiction, but area educators and religious leaders believe the measure can have a broad impact.
U.S. Rep. Bob Riley - the GOP contender for Alabama governor - quickly
introduced a House resolution condemning the decision.
Riley's "Sense of Congress" resolution was introduced Wednesday evening and will probably be voted on early next month.
Buck Powell, Escambia County Board of Education, said he feels the decision is ridiculous.
Even though the ruling only applies to public schools, local private school education officials feel as strongly about the decision.
Some area religious leaders voiced concern that further removal of God from school will contribute to societal problems.
Yet the Rev. Wesley Channell, pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Atmore, offers a different take on the situation.
The U.S. Senate has not voiced opposition or support regarding the ruling. The order does not go into effect for several months, allowing time for appeal.