I pledge allegiance, to the flag, of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one Nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

These 31 words speak volumes about America. The words mean so much that, while the president sent troops into battle two weeks ago, the U.S. House of Representatives took time to vote overwhelmingly to defend those words.

The House cast its vote on March 20, first full day of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The resolution condemns a federal appeals court's rulings which found that reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools is unconstitutional because of its reference to God.

House members passed their nonbinding resolution blasting the court's rulings by a margin of 400-7. Those opposing the resolution were Rep. Gary Ackerman and Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York; Robert Scott of Virginia; Jim McDermott of Washington; Pete Stark and Mike Honda of California; and Barney Frank of Massachusetts. Let's hope citizens in those states remember next election why the vote was not unanimous.

The bill that passed is House Resolution 132. Following is an excerpt:

It is the sense of the House of Representatives that (1) the phrase "one Nation, under God," in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag reflects that religious faith was central to the Founding Fathers and thus to the founding of the Nation;

(2) the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag, including the phrase, "one Nation, under God," is a patriotic act, not an act or statement of religious faith or belief;

(3) the phrase "one Nation, under God" should remain in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag and the practice of voluntarily reciting the pledge in public school classrooms should not only continue but should be encouraged;

(4) the President should nominate and the Senate should confirm federal circuit court judges who interpret the Constitution consistent withits text.

Well stated. Now, let's recite together: I pledge allegiance, to the flag, of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one Nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Editor's note: David Carkhuff is editor of the Blue Mountain Eagle in John Day and a frequent contributor to the Wallowa County Chieftain editorial page.

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