Published March 28, 2009
DALLAS – A federal judge has dismissed the claims of a parent who wanted to remove the words "under God" from the Texas pledge of allegiance recited each morning by public schoolchildren.
U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade ruled Thursday the state pledge may continue to reference God because the national pledge and four other states reference God or divine grace in their pledge, The Dallas Morning News reported Friday.
"A voluntary recitation of the Texas Pledge of Allegiance simply does not coerce students in the same way a school-sponsored prayer might," Kinkeade wrote in his opinion.
David Croft had argued that inserting the words were unconstitutional and amounted to a violation of separation of church and state. He and his wife, Shannon, sued on behalf of their three children who are enrolled at the Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District.
Previously, the Crofts unsuccessfully sued after an elementary teacher told one of their children to keep quiet because a minute for silence after the pledge was a "time for prayer."
A provision that took effect September 2003 changed the way schools start their days in Texas. Children are now allowed to "reflect, pray, meditate or engage in any other silent activities" for one minute after the state and national pledges of allegiance have been recited. A federal appeals court ruled last week that the law is constitutional.