Lawmakers in the Texas House voted 124-5 on Friday to add Judeo-Christian values to the state pledge of allegiance with the addition of the words “under God.”

The issue will now be considered in the Texas Senate.

House Bill 1034 moves the pledge, which students are required to recite each morning, will now read: “Honor the Texas flag; I pledge allegiance to thee, Texas, on state under God and indivisible.”

State Rep. Debbie Riddle, R-150, who authored the legislation, said the change would be reflective of the American pledge of allegiance, which has included the phrase “under God” since 1954.

The Tomball-area representative said she has received much support for House Bill 1034 from her constituents and Christians from across the state.

“What they value most is that this bill is found in a time and day when people want to take God out of everything,” Riddle said.

Amy Everhart Davis, communications director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas said while the state chapter had no official comment on Riddle’s bill, the group has received a number of calls regarding the legislation.

A provision in the bill excuses students from the pledges if a parent or guardian makes a written request.

The legislature passed a law in 2003 requiring students in Texas public schools to recite the pledge to the U.S. flag, the Texas flag and to observe a one-minute period of silence for prayer, meditation or reflection each morning.

The ACLU has tackled matters of religion in Texas public schools before, most recently before the U.S. Supreme Court in the 2000 ruling of Santa Fe Independent School District vs. Jane Doe.

The court ruled 6-3 that prayer in public schools violates the First Amendment.

In 2003, however, The U.S. Supreme Court overturned a decision by the Ninth Circuit of the Court of Appeals in Newdow vs. U.S., stating the U.S. flag pledge does not violate the First Amendment despite the appearance of the line “one nation under God.”

Thirty-six states have enacted law requiring the recitation of the pledge to the U.S. flag.

Earlier this session, the State Senate unanimously passed State Sen. Dan Patrick’s, R-7, first resolution directing the State Preservation Board to permanently affix the words “In God We Trust” above the Lt. Governor’s podium in the Senate chamber in Austin.

Patrick called SR 141 a “triumph,” adding “…it sends a message to everyone who comes in here that this Senate stands for Judeo-Christian values.” The measure was passed Jan. 30.

A similar resolution also passed 141-3 in the House, carried by State Rep. Richard Raymond, D-42.

Brandon De Hoyos is a journalist in Houston, Texas. He can be reached at brandon.dehoyos@yahoo.com

 

Sources:

The 1960 Sun Newspapers

Houston Chronicle

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