WASHINGTON Spurred by a recent court ruling, the House passed a bill yesterday that would reinforce support for references to God in the Pledge of Allegiance and the national motto.
The measure, S. 2690, passed in a 401-5 vote. Those members voting against the bill were Reps. Barney Frank, D-Mass., Michael Honda, D-Calif., Jim McDermott, D-Wash., Bobby Scott, D-Va., and Pete Stark, D-Calif.
Four members Reps. Gary Ackerman, D-N.Y., Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y., and Mel Watt, D-N.C. voted present rather than record a yes or no vote.
In addition to reaffirming support for the words "under God" in the pledge, the measure also reiterates that "In God We Trust" is the national motto.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in June ruled that the phrase "under God," inserted by Congress in 1954, amounts to a government endorsement of religion in violation of the separation of church and state.
The case was brought by a California man who objected to his daughter being compelled to listen to her second-grade classmates recite the pledge.
The bill is a nonbinding resolution that will have no legal bearing on the lawsuit.
The measure also includes rules on the appropriate manner for saying the pledge, including a provision that says anyone reciting it should remove nonreligious headdress with the right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, with the hand resting over the heart.
The Senate has already passed the bill, but it did not include the headdress provisions. Lawmakers there are expected to pass the House version soon. It would then go to the White House for the president's signature.