Mr. Speaker, I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Mr. Speaker, this simple, powerful statement is a patriotic phrase defining what we are all about as citizens of this Republic. It is being said in school yards across America every day. In some States it is the State law that it be said. In Texas, for example, it is required along with the Texas State pledge and a moment of silence each day. This is observed by students and by teachers. But not every school child may say it. In fact, some are actually forbidden to say it because it mentions, heaven forbid, under God.

A member of the pledge police, a Federal judge in California, has issued his decree denouncing the pledge and forbidding it in some school districts in California because some adult atheist has become offended. The atheist, mind you, is not a student in any school, just an offended individual that has convinced the pledge police to stop the pledge from being uttered in schools because he is offended.

It has become the habit of the offended to use the Federal courts to change the majority will of the people, claiming the conduct of the majority of Americans is unconstitutional because it is offensive.

Okay, Mr. Speaker, what constitutional violation has occurred here? Some claim the first amendment is violated by kids saying the pledge because of the theological phrase ``under God.'' Let us examine this.

The first amendment reads in part: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

First of all, assume the pledge establishes religion. Congress has not made any law about the pledge, but our Federal courts have taken the word ``Congress,'' reinterpreted that phrase, and applied it universally to all governments, including school boards. By what authority do Federal courts expand the word ``Congress'' to include all government entities?

Well, because they make words mean something more than they really mean by twisting simple concepts in the Constitution to mean difficult concepts for us people to understand. It is also necessary to understand that our Forefathers put the phrase in the Constitution to prevent a State and national religion like what was occurring in England at the time.

So are the atheists and the pledge police Federal judges seriously really thinking that the phrase ``under God'' is equivalent to establishing a national religion in the United States?

Well, my question for them is, what exactly would that religion be? Too bad the court did not enlighten us simple Americans what national religion the pledge establishes. But our Federal judges here have systematically tried to remove any mention of a divine being in the public sector by claiming any mention of God establishes a national religion. This defies common sense and makes the first amendment say something it does not say.

By the way, if this phrase is purely a religious one, why does the pledge police judge not read the second half of the first amendment that says, the government may not prevent the free exercise of religion? By banning the pledge if it is religious, does not this judge violate the free exercise of religion? That phrase is in our first amendment as well. It does seem so to me.

The pledge, when stated and looked at objectively, is a statement of patriotic duty and affirmation to America, to truth and liberty and justice. It is not purely a religious statement. It is a statement of civic duty and responsibility and national pride.

So what is next, Mr. Speaker? Are the pledge police going to ban the pledge we say each day here in the House of Representative? We shall see about that.

The real issue here is not the forbidding of the Pledge of Allegiance by our courts. It is more serious than that. It is the new constitutional right that is being invented and conceived in the minds of the far-fetched Federal elites that is not even in the Constitution at all, but the Constitution is being used as excuse to invent this new right. It is the right not to be offended.

If I am offended by what you say or do or by what the government says or does, I can go to court and sue you because I am offended. This atheist was offended by a bunch of school kids, by their mere utterance of the Pledge of Allegiance. So he goes and sues and convinces a judge to protect his right not to be offended. So no more offended words, so no more pledge. This is an example of the new phantom constitutional right of freedom from being offended.

Mr. Speaker, I was a felony court trial judge in Houston for over 20 years. I heard thousands of cases. All of those were based on the United States Constitution. But the last time I checked in the Constitution, freedom from hurting someone's feelings was not included in the Constitution. So in truth this is the right that was allegedly violated by those kids in California. They offended someone, they hurt someone's feelings, and now they have to stop.

This is a dangerous movement, but this mysterious right is not in the Constitution. But the right of free speech, Mr. Speaker, is in the Constitution. And I say to those kids in California, your right of free speech was violated by the pledge policeman when he issued his pronouncement against you mentioning ``under God.''

So now you may proudly say the pledge each morning in a closet or in silence, and when you get to that phrase ``with liberty and justice for all,'' just remember you lost some of your liberty by this ruling, and it certainly is not justice for all but only for those who are offended. Mr. Speaker, this ought not to be.