TCU Daily Skiff Tuesday, March 30, 2004
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Court must silence pledge uncertainty
Plaintiff has standing to bring case to high court

Last week, a California atheist argued to the Supreme Court that the daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in his daughter’s public school classroom is unconstitutional. In question is one of the biggest church-state issues the high court will face this year.

This editorial board is split on the constitutionality of the pledge, but it firmly believes the Supreme Court should not sidestep the issue by ruling that Michael Newdow, the plaintiff, does not have standing to bring the lawsuit in his behalf or his daughter’s. This excuse not only allows an important social issue to allude confrontation, it is also false.

Newdow may not have complete custody of his daughter, but he is still her father. He, like any other parent would be, is upset that every morning at school his daughter, by being encouraged to recite the words “under God” in the pledge, is told her father is wrong. To bring the lawsuit, Newdow must prove he is personally affected by the law. We believe that meets that standard.

Newdow’s argument is not just about his religious beliefs but about societal beliefs as well. From definitions of what “God” is to the logistics of prayer, these religious issues require government finality. We are a nation with liberty and justice for all, but not all of us want to be under God.

This is an important issue, and the line between church and state must be distinguishable so it is clear what exactly is constitutional. Avoiding the issue only invites further confusion. The nine justices of the high court must rule on this issue.

If the Supreme Court were to dismiss the case because Newdow doesn’t have standing, it would only invite a similar case to the court, under a new name.

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