The words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance are an appeal to patriotism, not religion, and do not violate the separation of church and state, a federal appeals court ruled today - the same court that declared the pledge unconstitutional in 2002.The same court had previously said that the Pledge was unconstitutional, but the US Supreme Court was not likely to agree.
In a separate ruling, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel in San Francisco upheld the placement of the national motto, "In God We Trust," on coins and currency. The language is patriotic and ceremonial, not religious, the court said.
Both suits were filed by Michael Newdow, a Sacramento atheist who has filed numerous challenges to government-sponsored religious invocations.
Update: The 133-page dissent misquotes Sarah Palin's response to an Eagle Forum questionnaire, in an attempt to make her look stupid. She was asked whether she is offended by the phrase "Under God", not about the history of the Pledge.