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CONGRESSMAN ROBERT A. UNDERWOOD Delegate from Guam U.S. House of Representatives Washington, D.C.

NEWS RELEASE June 28, 2002


Congressman Robert Underwood today rose in support of a resolution denouncing the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling on the Pledge of Allegiance. The House overwhelmingly voted in favor of H.R. 459.

"By supporting this resolution we recognize the meaning of the Pledge of Allegiance and embrace the significance of its recitation by our nation's schoolchildren," Underwood said.

As Americans and a territory within the jurisdiction of the 9th Circuit Underwood said the ruling could have a profound affect on our ability to sing the Guam hymn. "Under the logic of this ruling the people of Guam won't be able to sing the Guam Hymn. Our hymn, which is sung daily in Guam's schools not only acknowledges God, it asks for His protection as in 'Yu'os prutehi I islan Guam," he said.

Part of the resolution reads, "Whereas this ruling is contrary to the vast weight of Supreme Court authority recognizing that the mere mention of God in a public setting is not contrary to any reasonable reading of the First Amendment. The Pledge of Allegiance is not a religious service or a prayer, but it is a statement of historical beliefs. The Pledge of Allegiance is a recognition of the fact that many people believe in God and the value that our culture has traditionally placed on the role of religion in our founding and our culture. The Supreme Court has recognized that governmental entities may, consistent with the First Amendment, recognize the religious heritage of America."

Underwood said the ruling dismissed the significance of the Pledge of Allegiance amongst Americans. "The ruling by the U. S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in this case is unfortunate in that it fails to recognize the meaning that the Pledge of Allegiance has in our lives, its purpose in protecting the principles of our democracy, and its remembering of the sacrifice made by our nation's veterans in defense of this nation and in support of all for which we stand and in which we believe," the Congressman said.

Joseph E. Duenas Special Assistant Office of Congressman Robert A. Underwood, M.C. Guam District Office 120 Father Duenas Ave., Suite 107 Hagåtña, Guam 96910 Phone: (671) 477-4272 Fax: (671) 477-2587

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