The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco has ruled that the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance are not an unconstitutional endorsement of religion. Rather, they say, the phrase  “is an endorsement of our form of government, not of religion or any particular sect.”

But if saying the nation is under the rule of God does not constitute endorsement of religion, then what does? Are we really to believe that democracy—“our form of government”—is somehow inherently religious, such that the words “under God” represent patriotism rather than religious speech? The dissenting judge, Stephen Reinhardt, said statements by members of Congress who added “under God” to the pledge in 1954 show conclusively that it was intended to “indoctrinate our nation’s children with a state-held religious belief.”

The suit was brought by Michael Newdow, an atheist in Sacramento, who said he would appeal the ruling. He argues that it constitutes religious discrimination against atheists, saying the decision indicates that to “be a real American, you believe in God[….]”

Read the article at here.