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Virginiaâ€TMs Compulsory Pledge Law Upheld**

by Brendan Coyne

*A correction was appended to this news brief after initial publication.

Aug. 12, 2005 – A Virginia law requiring state schools to conduct the Pledge of Allegiance to the nation’s flag remains standing after a Wednesday court decision that the state law does not violate the principle or letter of constitutional requirements separating church and state.

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The decision arose from a case brought by an Anabaptist man who has two children in the state public school system. Anabaptist doctrine calls for a complete separation of church and state.

According to the case, Myers v Loudoun County Schools, Edward Myers objected to the compulsory pledge law due to the inclusion of the phrase "one nation under god," which he said promotes the state endorsement of religion and infringes upon his right to educate his children about religion as he sees fit. He argued the case himself.

The court turned away Myers’s complaint, finding that Myers had no right to litigate on behalf of his children and that the pledge is patriotic, rather than religious, in nature, according to court papers.

Current state law mandates that the pledge be recited at public school each day, but does not force students to participate.

Earlier this year, the Virginia State Senate opted not to vote on a bill that would have required state schools to notify parents when their children refused to participate in the pledge, the American Civil Liberties Union, which had threatened a lawsuit over the law, announced in February.


Minor Change:

In the original version of this article, the plaintiff's name was misspelled Meyers. The correct spelling is Myers.

 | Change Posted August 12, 2005 at 22:21 PM EST

Minor Change:

The following sentence appeared in the original version of this story:

Myers told the court his two children had been forced to participate at times by substitute teachers and others.

Mr. Myers has informed TNS that he told this to reporters only and the fact did not come up, nor did the court consider it, in the course of the hearings. We have removed it simply to avoid confusion over what the court was considering.

 | Change Posted August 15, 2005 at 09:30 AM EST

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The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.

Brendan Coyne is a contributing journalist.

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