Last updated on: 3/5/2009 | Author:


Adaptation, adjustment, or agreement. Students who do not wish to recite the Pledge of Allegiance are accommodated by being permitted to sit-out the recitation, or to leave the room, or to recite the pledge without the words “under God.”
To state positively. A solemn declaration made under the penalties of perjury by a person who conscientiously declines taking an oath. Can be used in a court of law, or in the swearing in of a government official.
The fidelity owed by a subject or citizen to a sovereign or government.
Relating to the established Episcopal Church of England and churches of similar faith and order in communions with it. Of or relating to England or the English nation.
A disbelief in the existence of a deity.
A legislative proposal before Congress. A bill must be passed by both the House and Senate and then be signed by the President before it becomes law.
Ceremonial Deism
Using a general deity/god in a public governmental action, such as “In God We Trust” on currency, or saying “God Bless This Court” at the opening of the US Supreme Court. It is theorized that certain common religious references do not offend the Establishment Clause of the US Constitution.
A clergyman officially attached to a branch of the military, to an institution, or to a family or court.
One who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ.
To compel to an act or choice. To achieve by force or threat.
Concurrent Resolution
A legislative proposal that must be passed by the House and Senate but does not require the signature of the President and does not have the force of law. Concurrent resolutions are generally used to express the sentiment of Congress or to amend the internal rules of the House and Senate.
Relating to a body of Protestant churches deriving from the English Independents of the 17th century (also known as Puritans) and affirming the essential important and the autonomy of the local congregation.
The belief in the existence of a God on purely rational grounds without reliance on revelation or authority. The doctrine that God created the world and its natural laws, but takes no further part in its functioning.
To approve openly. To express support or approval of publicly and definitely.
Establishment Clause
The portion of the First Amendment relevant to religion in general and the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance has often been broken down by legal scholars into two “clauses,” which they call “The Establishment Clause” and the “The Free Exercise Clause.” The “Establishment Clause” states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…”
Founding Fathers
An originator of an institution or movement. Often used to describe the “founders” of the United States. It is an inexact term and often includes the 56 signers of the 1776 Declaration of Independence and the 55 delegates to the 1787 US Constitutional Convention. Some historians also include the members of the first US Congress in 1789, as well as early Supreme Court justices, who served from 1789 to 1795.
The supreme or ultimate reality. The being perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness who is worshipped as creator and ruler of the universe.
Incapable of being divided.
To instruct, especially in fundamentals or rudiments. To imbue with a usual partisan or sectarian opinion, point of view, or principle.
Joint Resolution
A legislative proposal that serves two purposes. First, they are used exactly as bills to enact law, generally for limited matters. Used this way, they must be passed by both the House and Senate and must be signed by the President before becoming law. Joint resolutions are also used to propose amendments to the Constitution. Used this way, they must be passed by both the House and Senate and be ratified by three-quarters of the states, but do not require the signature of the President, to become a part of the Constitution.
Having historical roots in both Judaism and Christianity.
Locum Tenens
Temporary employment for physicians.
The doctrine or belief that there is but one God.
A rule or habit of conduct with regard to right and wrong or a body of such rules and habits.
Nature’s God
A debatable phrase that some say is a general term that can be used by the religious and non-religious alike, and that refers to the creator, whether or not the creator is a God, or just nature.
Ninth Circuit
Federal court district that covers the areas known as California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Montana, Idaho, Nevada, Alaska, Hawaii, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.
One who believes that the founders meant only to prevent government from establishing a religion, which means favoring one sect over all others. They believe that government may aid religion as long as it aids all religions equally.
Love for, or devotion to one’s country.
A binding commitment to do or give or refrain from something. To give as a guarantee.
Divine guidance or care. God conceived as the power sustaining and guiding human destiny.
One who practices or preaches a more rigorous or professedly purer moral code than that which prevails. Began with the 16th and 17th century Protestant group that opposed the ceremonies of the Church of England as unscriptural.
A personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices. A cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith.
An earnest presentation of reasons for opposition or grievance, especially a document formally stating such points.
Limited in character or scope. Parochial. Relating to or characteristic of a sect or religion.
Those who believe that the founders meant to erect a “wall of separation” between church and state, and, therefore, that government cannot aid religion, aid religiously motivated activities, or favor religion over irreligion.
Simple Resolution
A legislative proposal that does not require the approval of the other chamber or the signature of the President and does not have the force of law. Simple resolutions are used only to change the internal rules of one of the chambers of Congress or to express the sentiments of one of the houses.
Under God
Belief that God is above, or at a higher level in a hierarchy of importance.
Conformity to a standard of right. Morality. A particular moral excellence.