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Opening brief to defend "Under God" filed before Ninth Circuit

.- The Becket Fund, a interfaith organization for religious freedom, filed an opening brief June 1 in an effort to overturn the September 2005 court decision that struck down daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance because it includes the words "under God."

The case is now before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Becket Fund filed its brief on behalf of children who attend the targeted public schools and who want to keep saying the pledge with the words “under God”, the parents of those children, and the Knights of Columbus, who spearheaded the effort to add "under God" to the pledge 52 years ago.

The brief explains that the words “under God” encapsulate a foundational idea in American political philosophy: that the rights of the human person are inalienable -- and that the power of the state is correspondingly limited -- precisely because those rights exist prior to the state and come from a source beyond it.

The brief details how this concept is reflected throughout American history, starting with the Declaration of Independence.

It also traces the history of the phrase "under God" as a way to declare limits on the power of the state, beginning with the Middle Ages, up through George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.

Opening briefs of the other defendants — the Rio Linda Union School District and the United States — were also filed June 1. Numerous briefs of amici curiae in support of the appeal are expected to be filed this week.

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