'Under God' faces new scrutiny
03:48 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

Here’s a look at The Pledge of Allegiance, a promise of loyalty to the United States.


“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.”

During the Pledge, proper etiquette requires military personnel in uniform to salute, while other citizens place their right hand on their heart. Men should remove their hats during the pledge.

There was confusion about who wrote the pledge, James B. Upham or Francis Bellamy, both editors at “The Youth’s Companion,” but Bellamy is now acknowledged as the author.


September 18, 1892 - The pledge is published for the first time in the magazine “The Youth’s Companion.” The pledge is written to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America.

1924 - The words “the flag of the United States of America” are put in place of “my Flag.” The pledge was originally written - “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

1942 - The pledge is recognized by the US government.

1943 - In West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, the Supreme Court rules that requiring a person to say the pledge is violating the first and fourteenth amendments. Jehovah’s Witnesses had challenged the the West Virginia Board of Education’s requirement that students salute the flag and recite the Pledge of Allegiance or be expelled. The Jehovah’s Witnesses argued that this was against their religious beliefs.

1954 - President Dwight D. Eisenhower asks Congress to add “under God” to the pledge. Congress adds the phrase.

1998 - Michael Newdow files suit against the school board of Broward County, Florida to get the phrase “under God” removed from the pledge. Newdow argues this is a violation of the First Amendment and that that his daughter should not be subjected to the pledge at school. The suit is dismissed for lack of standing because Newdow’s daughter is not in school yet.

2000 - Newdow files a lawsuit against Elk Grove Unified School District in California arguing that making students listen to the words “under God,” even if they are not reciting them, is a violation of the First Amendment. The case makes it to the Supreme Court in 2004, where it is dismissed for lack of standing, because Newdow does not have full custody of his daughter.

2005 - Newdow and several parents in the Sacramento, California, area file a new lawsuit, seeking to remove the phrase “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance. In March 2010, Newdow loses when the 9th Circuit US Court of Appeals rules that the pledge does not represent a government endorsement of religion, prohibited by the Constitution.

October 5, 2012 - Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signs legislation requiring public school students be provided the opportunity to recite the Pledge of Allegiance each school day. However, students can’t be forced to say the pledge.

May 9, 2014 - The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts rules that the Pledge of Allegiance does not discriminate against atheists, saying that the words “under God” represent a patriotic, not a religious, exercise.