Text: S.2690 — 107th Congress (2001-2002)All Information (Except Text)
Public Law No: 107-293 (11/13/2002)
[107th Congress Public Law 293]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[[Page 116 STAT. 2057]]
Public Law 107-293
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
(6) On September 25, 1789, the First Congress unanimously
approved a resolution calling on President George Washington
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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
(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),
[[Page 116 STAT. 2060]]
that a school district's policy for voluntary recitation of the
Pledge of Allegiance including the words ``under God'' was
(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
(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.