.- A federal court ruled yesterday that the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty could intervene in a lawsuit and defend the reference to God in the Pledge of Allegiance. Michael Newdow launched a suit in the courts to have the words “under God” stripped from the Pledge of Allegiance. Now, he will have to contend with the Becket Fund, who will intervene on behalf of 10 California public school children, their parents, and approximately 1.7 million members of the Knights of Columbus.
"These students and parents represent the literally millions of students who for generations now have recited the full Pledge voluntarily, including its reference to God as the source of our inalienable rights," said Jared Leland, media and legal counsel for the Becket Fund.
"By granting them the right to intervene as parties in the lawsuit, the court properly recognized that they need not stand idly by while Mr. Newdow seeks to rewrite history and this nation's understanding of itself," Leland said.
In 1954, Congress passed a law adding "under God" to the Pledge. Since then, millions of school children and citizens have recited the pledge, which has become an important expression of the American identity.
The Knights' purpose in adding the phrase was to underscore the American philosophy of limited government — as reflected in other foundational documents like the Declaration of Independence and — and to contrast it with the Soviet philosophy of totalitarian government, which may grant and withdraw rights at will.