Local reaction to Pledge decision is mixed

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 28, 2002

A 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel ruled Wednesday that saying the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools is unconstitutional because the words "under God" are used.

On Thursday the ruling was put on hold until a federal appeals court decides how to rehear the case and the Senate voted 99-0 against the ruling.

Locally, reaction to the ruling has been mixed.

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Students and staff at Austin High School recite the pledge every Monday during announcements. They also recite it before every school assembly, said Joe Brown, AHS principal.

"We need to be sensitive to the feelings of the individuals of different faiths," Brown said.

Jim Goudy, commander of the American Legion in Austin said deciding whether the pledge is unconstitutional is up to the Supreme Court. The founding fathers understood the freedoms they were granting in this country, he said.

"The constitution is always being interpreted," Goudy said.

Dick Lang, city councilman for the 3rd Ward, said he thinks the decision to say the pledge is personal and not a national issue.

"I'm from the old school. I believe it. I believe in God," Lang said. "If you don't want to say it, then don't."

Cari Quam can be reached at 434-2235 or by e-mail at cari.quam@austindailyherald.com