COLUMBUS – State Representative Lynn Olman (R-Maumee) today joined with Governor Bob Taft, members of the General Assembly and a crowd of concerned citizens outside the Statehouse for a statewide recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. The gathering comes just two days after a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools is an unconstitutional "endorsement of religion" due to the inclusion of the phrase "under God" in 1954 by Congress.

“I have mixed feelings about being here today,” Olman remarked. “I’m proud to be able to participate in such a visual sign of solidarity amongst Ohioans, but at the same time it’s unfortunate that it took such an absurd court ruling to bring us here today.”

Olman expressed his relief at the news that the U.S. Justice Department intends to ask the full 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider the ruling. He pointed, however, to the U.S. Senate’s sluggish pace of appointments to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and called for a renewed effort at filling the vacancies.

“We’re currently looking at thirty vacancies on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and the U.S. Senate has only approved seven of our President’s nominees,” Olman explained. “If nothing else, I hope this ruling serves as a wakeup call to our senators to fill these vacancies with the kind of judges that will exercise good sense.”

Noting that the Declaration of Independence, U.S. currency, some state mottos and the names of certain U.S. cities contain references to a higher power, Olman dismissed the notion that the words “under God” poses a danger of theocratic oppression.

“The U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled that any child can refuse to say the Pledge of Allegiance in school, so the idea that these two words somehow speak for everyone is ridiculous. No one is obligated to identify with the Pledge of Allegiance, and refusing to affirm or believe in a supreme being does not negate one’s rights or citizenship.”

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© Copyright 2008 State Representative Lynn Olman. All rights reserved.


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