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A Long-Term Role for a Temporary Allegiance

In 1954, Cold War fears of anti-religion communists led to the addition of the phrase “under God” to the pledge. Within three years, a court case asking that it be removed was introduced in New York, but the court refused. The most recent pledge-related case came before the Supreme Court in 2004, when atheist Michael A. Newdow objected to his daughter being forced to acknowledge or hear reference to God in a public school. He argued that not having to say the pledge wasn’t enough — just having to be in the room while it was recited was a violation of first amendment rights. Ultimately, Newdow lost and “under God” remains.

The story of the pledge is a part of American history that is often overlooked. Thanks to Jones and Meyer, that story is now told.

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