by Amy Crocker

The San Francisco Appeals court has ruled that "Under God" is not a prayer when used in the Pledge of Allegiance. In 2002, the court declared that the phrase was unconstitutional. The new 2-1 ruling from the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals states it is a "recognition of our founders' political philosophy that a power greater than the government gives the people their inalienable rights [...] Thus, the pledge is an endorsement of our form of government, not of religion or any particular sect."

In a separate 3-0 ruling, the "In God We Trust" was also found to be non-religious; the motto is patriotic and ceremonial.

Michael Newdow, the Sacramento atheist who first filed the lawsuit in 2000 will likely appeal according to the San Francisco Chronicle.