Text: S.2690 — 107th Congress (2001-2002)All Bill Information (Except Text)

Text available as:

Shown Here:
Public Law No: 107-293 (11/13/2002)

 
[107th Congress Public Law 293]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]


[DOCID: f:publ293.107]

[[Page 116 STAT. 2057]]

Public Law 107-293
107th Congress

                                 An Act


 
   To reaffirm the reference to one Nation under God in the Pledge of 
            Allegiance. <<NOTE: Nov. 13, 2002 -  [S. 2690]>> 

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. <<NOTE: 4 USC 4 note.>> FINDINGS.

    Congress finds the following:
            (1) On November 11, 1620, prior to embarking for the shores 
        of America, the Pilgrims signed the Mayflower Compact that 
        declared: ``Having undertaken, for the Glory of God and the 
        advancement of the Christian Faith and honor of our King and 
        country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern 
        parts of Virginia,''.
            (2) On July 4, 1776, America's Founding Fathers, after 
        appealing to the ``Laws of Nature, and of Nature's God'' to 
        justify their separation from Great Britain, then declared: ``We 
        hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created 
        equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain 
        unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the 
        Pursuit of Happiness''.
            (3) In 1781, Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration 
        of Independence and later the Nation's third President, in his 
        work titled ``Notes on the State of Virginia'' wrote: ``God who 
        gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation 
        be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a 
        conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are 
        of the Gift of God. That they are not to be violated but with 
        His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that 
        God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.''.
            (4) On May 14, 1787, George Washington, as President of the 
        Constitutional Convention, rose to admonish and exhort the 
        delegates and declared: ``If to please the people we offer what 
        we ourselves disapprove, how can we afterward defend our work? 
        Let us raise a standard to which the wise and the honest can 
        repair; the event is in the hand of God!''.
            (5) On July 21, 1789, on the same day that it approved the 
        Establishment Clause concerning religion, the First Congress of 
        the United States also passed the Northwest Ordinance, providing 
        for a territorial government for lands northwest of the Ohio 
        River, which declared: ``Religion, morality, and knowledge, 
        being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, 
        schools and the means of education shall forever be 
        encouraged.''.
            (6) On September 25, 1789, the First Congress unanimously 
        approved a resolution calling on President George Washington

[[Page 116 STAT. 2058]]

        to proclaim a National Day of Thanksgiving for the people of the 
        United States by declaring, ``a day of public thanksgiving and 
        prayer, to be observed by acknowledging, with grateful hearts, 
        the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording 
        them an opportunity peaceably to establish a constitution of 
        government for their safety and happiness.''.
            (7) On November 19, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln 
        delivered his Gettysburg Address on the site of the battle and 
        declared: ``It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the 
        great task remaining before us--that from these honored dead we 
        take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the 
        last full measure of devotion--that we here highly resolve that 
        these dead shall not have died in vain--that this Nation, under 
        God, shall have a new birth of freedom--and that Government of 
        the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from 
        the earth.''.
            (8) On April 28, 1952, in the decision of the Supreme Court 
        of the United States in Zorach v. Clauson, 343 U.S. 306 (1952), 
        in which school children were allowed to be excused from public 
        schools for religious observances and education, Justice William 
        O. Douglas, in writing for the Court stated: ``The First 
        Amendment, however, does not say that in every and all respects 
        there shall be a separation of Church and State. Rather, it 
        studiously defines the manner, the specific ways, in which there 
        shall be no concern or union or dependency one on the other. 
        That is the common sense of the matter. Otherwise the State and 
        religion would be aliens to each other--hostile, suspicious, and 
        even unfriendly. Churches could not be required to pay even 
        property taxes. Municipalities would not be permitted to render 
        police or fire protection to religious groups. Policemen who 
        helped parishioners into their places of worship would violate 
        the Constitution. Prayers in our legislative halls; the appeals 
        to the Almighty in the messages of the Chief Executive; the 
        proclamations making Thanksgiving Day a holiday; `so help me 
        God' in our courtroom oaths--these and all other references to 
        the Almighty that run through our laws, our public rituals, our 
        ceremonies would be flouting the First Amendment. A fastidious 
        atheist or agnostic could even object to the supplication with 
        which the Court opens each session: `God save the United States 
        and this Honorable Court.' ''.
            (9) On June 15, 1954, Congress passed and President 
        Eisenhower signed into law a statute that was clearly consistent 
        with the text and intent of the Constitution of the United 
        States, that amended the Pledge of Allegiance to read: ``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.''.
            (10) On July 20, 1956, Congress proclaimed that the national 
        motto of the United States is ``In God We Trust'', and that 
        motto is inscribed above the main door of the Senate, behind the 
        Chair of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and on the 
        currency of the United States.
            (11) On June 17, 1963, in the decision of the Supreme Court 
        of the United States in Abington School District v. Schempp, 374 
        U.S. 203 (1963), in which compulsory school prayer was held 
        unconstitutional, Justices Goldberg and

[[Page 116 STAT. 2059]]

        Harlan, concurring in the decision, stated: ``But untutored 
        devotion to the concept of neutrality can lead to invocation or 
        approval of results which partake not simply of that 
        noninterference and noninvolvement with the religious which the 
        Constitution commands, but of a brooding and pervasive devotion 
        to the secular and a passive, or even active, hostility to the 
        religious. Such results are not only not compelled by the 
        Constitution, but, it seems to me, are prohibited by it. Neither 
        government nor this Court can or should ignore the significance 
        of the fact that a vast portion of our people believe in and 
        worship God and that many of our legal, political, and personal 
        values derive historically from religious teachings. Government 
        must inevitably take cognizance of the existence of religion 
        and, indeed, under certain circumstances the First Amendment may 
        require that it do so.''.
            (12) On March 5, 1984, in the decision of the Supreme Court 
        of the United States in Lynch v. Donelly, 465 U.S. 668 (1984), 
        in which a city government's display of a nativity scene was 
        held to be constitutional, Chief Justice Burger, writing for the 
        Court, stated: ``There is an unbroken history of official 
        acknowledgment by all three branches of government of the role 
        of religion in American life from at least 1789 . . . [E]xamples 
        of reference to our religious heritage are found in the 
        statutorily prescribed national motto `In God We Trust' (36 
        U.S.C. 186), which Congress and the President mandated for our 
        currency, see (31 U.S.C. 5112(d)(1) (1982 ed.)), and in the 
        language `One Nation under God', as part of the Pledge of 
        Allegiance to the American flag. That pledge is recited by many 
        thousands of public school children--and adults--every year . . 
        . Art galleries supported by public revenues display religious 
        paintings of the 15th and 16th centuries, predominantly inspired 
        by one religious faith. The National Gallery in Washington, 
        maintained with Government support, for example, has long 
        exhibited masterpieces with religious messages, notably the Last 
        Supper, and paintings depicting the Birth of Christ, the 
        Crucifixion, and the Resurrection, among many others with 
        explicit Christian themes and messages. The very chamber in 
        which oral arguments on this case were heard is decorated with a 
        notable and permanent--not seasonal--symbol of religion: Moses 
        with the Ten Commandments. Congress has long provided chapels in 
        the Capitol for religious worship and meditation.''.
            (13) On June 4, 1985, in the decision of the Supreme Court 
        of the United States in Wallace v. Jaffree, 472 U.S. 38 (1985), 
        in which a mandatory moment of silence to be used for meditation 
        or voluntary prayer was held unconstitutional, Justice O'Connor, 
        concurring in the judgment and addressing the contention that 
        the Court's holding would render the Pledge of Allegiance 
        unconstitutional because Congress amended it in 1954 to add the 
        words ``under God,'' stated ``In my view, the words `under God' 
        in the Pledge, as codified at (36 U.S.C. 172), serve as an 
        acknowledgment of religion with `the legitimate secular purposes 
        of solemnizing public occasions, [and] expressing confidence in 
        the future.' ''.
            (14) On November 20, 1992, the United States Court of 
        Appeals for the 7th Circuit, in Sherman v. Community 
        Consolidated School District 21, 980 F.2d 437 (7th Cir. 1992), 
        held

[[Page 116 STAT. 2060]]

        that a school district's policy for voluntary recitation of the 
        Pledge of Allegiance including the words ``under God'' was 
        constitutional.
            (15) The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals erroneously held, in 
        Newdow v. U.S. Congress (9th Cir. June 26, 2002), that the 
        Pledge of Allegiance's use of the express religious reference 
        ``under God'' violates the First Amendment to the Constitution, 
        and that, therefore, a school district's policy and practice of 
        teacher-led voluntary recitations of the Pledge of Allegiance is 
        unconstitutional.
            (16) The erroneous rationale of the 9th Circuit Court of 
        Appeals in Newdow would lead to the absurd result that the 
        Constitution's use of the express religious reference ``Year of 
        our Lord'' in Article VII violates the First Amendment to the 
        Constitution, and that, therefore, a school district's policy 
        and practice of teacher-led voluntary recitations of the 
        Constitution itself would be unconstitutional.

SEC. 2. ONE NATION UNDER GOD.

    (a) Reaffirmation.--Section 4 of title 4, United States Code, is 
amended to read as follows:

``Sec. 4. Pledge of allegiance to the flag; manner of delivery

    ``The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag: `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.', should be rendered by standing at attention facing the flag with 
the right hand over the heart. When not in uniform men should remove any 
non-religious headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left 
shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Persons in uniform should 
remain silent, face the flag, and render the military salute.''.
    (b) <<NOTE: 4 USC 4 note.>> Codification.--In codifying this 
subsection, the Office of the Law Revision Counsel shall show in the 
historical and statutory notes that the 107th Congress reaffirmed the 
exact language that has appeared in the Pledge for decades.

SEC. 3. REAFFIRMING THAT GOD REMAINS IN OUR MOTTO.

    (a) Reaffirmation.--Section 302 of title 36, United States Code, is 
amended to read as follows:

[[Page 116 STAT. 2061]]

``Sec. 302. National motto

    `` `In God we trust' is the national motto.''.
    (b) Codification.--In codifying this subsection, the Office of the 
Law Revision Counsel shall make no change in section 302, title 36, 
United States Code, but shall show in the historical and statutory notes 
that the 107th Congress reaffirmed the exact language that has appeared 
in the Motto for decades.

    Approved November 13, 2002.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--S. 2690:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

HOUSE REPORTS: No. 107-659 (Comm. on the Judiciary).
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 148 (2002):
            June 27, considered and passed Senate.
            Oct. 7, 8, considered and passed House, amended.
            Oct. 17, Senate concurred in House amendment.

                                  <all>