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Commentary: No Winners in Court Battles

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, March 26, 2010
I don't know if the words "under god" in the Pledge of Allegiance constitute an illegal state establishment of religion, as Newdow argues, or are "merely an endorsement of our form of government, not of any particular religion…" as the majority in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled earlier this month.
I’m just heartily sick of the whole debate, and I suspect, so are the vast majority of people in the muddled middle. We hate seeing our schools dragged into the culture wars.
 Never mind that the local schools Newdow sued gave him the right to excuse his daughter from reciting the pledge. That wasn’t enough. He wants to impose his version of right on everyone else.
 No matter who sues, whether a committed atheist who seeks to excise all expressions of faith from public institutions, or true believers who want to use those same institutions to proselytize, too often schools are caught in the crossfire. Lawsuits drain time, money and energy that schools can ill afford to waste.
What should be easily resolved at the schoolyard becomes a federal case, a chance for the crankiest litigants to push their private agendas at the expense of our public schools.
In the end - no matter how the courts rule - no one really wins.
Ginger Rutland writes for The Sacramento Bee opinion pages.
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