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An overwhelming majority of Americans believe the words “under God” should remain in the Pledge of a Allegiance, according to a from LifeWay Research.

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Their survey found that 85 percent of Americans want to keep “under God” in the pledge.

The survey results show little support for changing the pledge, says Scott McConnell, director of LifeWay Research.

“Most Americans have recited the pledge hundreds of times and are not inclined to memorize a different pledge,” said Scott McConnell, director of LifeWay Research. “Changing it may just feel wrong. Most Americans say they believe in God or a higher being and feel comfortable having ‘under God’ in the pledge.”

Earlier this week, the American Humanist Association filed a lawsuit against a New Jersey school district claiming the words “under God” violated the state constitution.

The group says the phrase, added in 1954, “marginalizes atheist and humanist kids as something less than ideal patriots.”

“Public schools should not engage in an exercise that tells students that patriotism is tied to a belief in God,” said David Niose, attorney for the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center. “Such a daily exercise portrays atheist and humanist children as second-class citizens, and certainly contributes to anti-atheist prejudices.”

LifeWay researchers did find one in four Americans (25 percent) believe forcing students to say “under God” violates their rights. But less than one in 10 (eight percent) Americans want to remove “under God” from the pledge.

The study by LifeWay Research also found younger Americans are more likely to support removal of “under God” from the pledge. Fourteen percent of those ages 18-29 want to remove the phrase, compared to five percent of those over 64.

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By Todd Starnes

Hulk Hogan once said, “I fear no man, no beast or evil, brother.”

And the wrestlers at South High School in Parkersburg, W.Va. fear no atheist.

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The teenage grapplers are staring down the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a Wisconsin-based atheist group outraged because the team wears t-shirts bearing a Bible verse.

“I can do all things through Him that strengthens me.” That’s the verse emblazoned across the back of the shirt. The motto was also posted on the team’s website. Until now.

“We asked them to take it down,” said Pat Law, the superintendent of the Wood County school district. “We have to follow the law – whatever that law might be. We’re going to be certain that everyone’s rights are being protected.

Law told me the team had been using the motto for at least 10 years without any complaint – until he received the letter from the FFRF. He said the group alleges the shirts violate the separation of church and state.

However, Bill Merriman, an attorney representing one of the wrestlers and his parents, told me the shirts are perfectly legal.

“It’s not part of the official uniform,” Merriman said. “If a student athlete doesn’t want to wear that shirt, they don’t have to. It’s not a requirement. It’s not part of the official uniform.”

Merriman said the shirts were paid for by parents of the wrestlers – and now those moms and dads are ready to piledrive somebody.

“They don’t understand how somebody can come along after all these years and say you can’t wear that,” he said. “It’s frustrating for the parents because they see a lot of other t-shirts being worn by students that are certainly not religious – but they are offensive. Nobody is saying they can’t wear those shirts.”

That’s a pretty good point.

For now, Supt. Law told me the kids can wear the shirts – provided they belong to the students.

“We do not and cannot infringe upon their freedom of religion – their ability to express that,” he said. However, the Bible verse has already been scrubbed from the wrestling team’s website.

Merriman said he is ready to file a lawsuit if the school district ultimately decides the shirts violate the law.

“The First Amendment swings both ways,” he told.

Indeed, it does. But try telling that to a militant atheist.

It’s really no surprise the boys had a Bible verses printed on their t-shirts. As we all learned in Sunday School, the relationship between God and grapplers predates Saturday morning wrestling.

There’s a great wrestling story in the Old Testament. Jacob went toe to toe with an angel. It was an honest-to-goodness no-holds-barred, steel cage match.

Now, I’m no theologian, but I suspect if old Jacob got in the squared circle with an angel – he’d be more than willing to tangle with an atheist.

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FREEHOLD, N.J. (AP) — A family is suing a New Jersey school district, contending that the phrase “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance is discriminatory toward atheist children.

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The lawsuit against the Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District was filed in state court last month and announced Monday by the American Humanist Association. The group says the phrase, added in 1954, “marginalizes atheist and humanist kids as something less than ideal patriots.”

The anonymous plaintiffs say those two words violate the state constitution.

“Public schools should not engage in an exercise that tells students that patriotism is tied to a belief in God,” said David Niose, attorney for the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center. “Such a daily exercise portrays atheist and humanist children as second-class citizens, and certainly contributes to anti-atheist prejudices.”

But school district lawyer David Rubin says the district is merely following a state law that requires schools to have a daily recitation of the pledge. He says individual students do not have to participate.

The humanist group is awaiting a ruling from a court on a similar case in Massachusetts.

So what are the kids supposed to say — “…one nation under blank?”

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By Todd Starnes

Today is Good Friday. Christians around the world are contemplating God’s amazing grace — remembering the sacrifice Christ made — on a hill far away.

On an old rugged cross.

The weekend is sure to be filled with passion plays and sunrise services from San Antonio to Portland, Maine. Purple and gold bunting will adorn country churches and urban cathedrals.

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Catholics and Lutherans – Baptists and Pentecostals will re-enact the Way of the Cross, walking the downtown streets with a wooden beams.

The Via Dolorosa – the way of suffering.

It had to be that way – that’s what the Scripture tells us. A price had to be paid for mankind’s sins.

A sacrificial lamb.

Pierced for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities.

On Friday it was finished. On Sunday it just begun.

And that is why on this day we cherish the old rugged cross – believing in faith that one day we will exchange it for a crown.

Be sure to pre-order your copy of Todd’s new book, “God Less America.” Click here to get your copy!

Mrs. Obama visited Howard University today where she thanked Bow Wow and took a jab at the press.

“Let’s give it up for Bow Wow,” Mrs. Obama said. I’m not familiar with Mr. Wow’s work.

She also told kids they would have a candid conversation — but only after the press left the room.

“And then when the press leaves, we’ll really get candid,” she said.

That appears to be the Obama’s modus operandi.

Following are remarks delivered by Mrs. Obama at Howard University today:

MRS. OBAMA:  Thank you.  Thanks, you guys.  (Applause.)  Thanks, Bow Wow.  Let’s give it up for Bow Wow.  Very proud of this young man.  I have grown very fond of him.  We’ve done some good work together, and his commitment to education, his commitment to young people, and BET’s commitment, it just means the world to me and I know it means the world to all of yo

But I am so excited to be here with all of you.  We’re going to have a chance to talk and really get candid and all that sort of stuff.  But I want to welcome you all to Washington, D.C., and also to Howard University — one of the finest universities in the country.  (Applause.)  On this beautiful campus, on this beautiful day — for those of you from Chicago, the weather here is better.  (Laughter.)  It’s not hard when you’re from Chicago.

But this is such an important occasion, and this is one of the reasons why I’m here.  Because one of the things that Barack and I are focusing on and will be focusing on for the rest of our lives, quite frankly, is making sure that young people understand the importance of an education.  And that means education beyond high school.

No longer is high school the bar.  That is not enough in today’s globalizing economy.  You have got to go to college, or get some kind of professional training beyond college.  And one of the goals that the President set is trying to make sure that we are the — once again, the leader in college graduates in the world.  It’s called his North Star Goal.  We were at the top years back, but now we’ve fallen very far behind the rest of the world.

And it’s going to be up to all of you, because while there’s a lot of work that needs to be done on our end — governments, private sector, the folks with money — I want to talk to you all.  Because at the very least, you all have complete control over your futures.  How you approach your education is really still within your hands.  You don’t have time to wait for everybody to fix the system for you.  We have to have a hunger for education like we had when our parents and grandparents were fighting for us to have the right to come to these schools and to get the education.

So now, it’s up to you all to take that baton and do the very best you can with it.  And that’s one of the reasons why I wanted to be here with all of you, because this transition for some of you may be a little scary.  It may be unknown.  It was that way for me when I was growing up.  I mean, my older brother went to college, but I didn’t know anything about what my college experience was going to be like.

Unlike you all, I didn’t get tours like — I didn’t even go on a college tour.  I didn’t go on a single — nobody went on college tours.  It would have been nice to see what a dorm looked like.  The only reason I saw a dorm was because I visited my brother once when he was in college.  That was the only exposure.

And I applied here, I applied to Howard.  I applied to Northwestern.  I applied to the University of Wisconsin, Madison — but I don’t even know why I applied.  I knew why I applied to Howard, but everywhere else was just a crapshoot.  They sent me a brochure, I was like, okay, I’ll apply.  (Laughter.)  I got in.  It’ll look — the pictures looked nice.  That was all that I had.

So the fact that you guys have this opportunity to spend a weekend on a college campus and really get a feel for what this experience is going to be like is really a tremendous opportunity that I hope you all take advantage of.

So I’m going to stop talking, because I really want to hear from you all.  You guys, feel free to ask anything.  I’m going to turn it back over to Bow Wow, and then we’ll just talk.  We’ll get real candid.  And then when the press leaves, we’ll really get candid.  (Laughter.)

By Todd Starnes

Today Ukrainian Jews leaving a synagogue were landed flyers ordering them to identify themselves to government officials and pay a registration fee — or else face deportation, USA Today reported.

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It is not clear who sent the notices. But one thing is clear – Jews have been put on notice.

This happened once before in recent history — and we all know how that turned out.

Secretary of State John Kerry called the notices intolerable and grotesque. Yes. They are. But what are we going to do about it?

During an interview this week, President Obama seemed to throw Ukrainians under the bus. He refused to tell CBS News if there was a line that Russia must not cross.

“There’s no excuse for not only Russian troops being massed along the borders of Ukraine,” he said.

Well, of course there’s no excuse. So what are you going to do about it?

“None of us think that somehow Ukraine can ignore Russia, should be hostile towards Russia,” the president told CBS. “But we also don’t think that Ukraine should be a vassal state.”

Vassal state? Who talks like that? This isn’t Game of Thrones. It’s real life.

The president said he wants to give diplomacy a chance. Are you kidding me?

Russian troops have invaded Ukraine. One of their fighter jets buzzed an American warship. Jews are being targeted.

Meanwhile, President Obama is  sitting in the backseat of the presidential limo taking selfies with his vice president.

In the spirit of diplomacy, it’s time for our Commander-in-Chief to grow a backbone.

And if the reports are true — at the very least – we should send every Ukrainian Jew — man, woman and child – a gun and a box of ammo.

The last thing the country wants is to be dragged into another war. But we cannot – and must not — stand by and allow our Jewish friends to be targeted.

Not again.

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By Todd Starnes

Your friendly neighborhood columnist has once again run afoul of Facebook’s elusive community standards. This time I was censored for writing something about Rancher Cliven Bundy.

I realized I had landed in the Facebook gulag when I tried to post our daily Bible verse.  However, I was unable to post anything because Facebook had taken great offense to something I had written.

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“We removed something your page posted,” Facebook told me in a rather unpleasant message. “We removed the post below because it doesn’t follow the Facebook Community Standards.”

Now before you call up the preacher and put me on the church prayer list – let me assure the posting was neither unseemly nor ungentlemanly. facebook3

Nevertheless, it caused great consternation and angst among Facebook’s left-wing censors. Following is the egregious text:

“Rancher Bundy should’ve told the feds that those were Mexican cows – who came across the border illegally to seek better grazing opportunities. It was an act of love.”

Thousands of you posted comments and many more shared that message. It’s now gone — blotted out by anonymous redactors.

I reached out to Facebook to find out which part of the message violated their standards. Never heard back. I suspect I should’ve used the term “illegal alien cows.”

It’s not the first time my postings have been bleeped by the Facebook Purge Police. Heck, I’m a serial offender. I’ve been banished, blocked and censored for writing about Chick-fil-A, God, the Bible, Paula Deen, Cracker Barrel rocking chairs, sweet tea, Jesus, the Gaither Vocal Band, the Gideons, the National Rifle Association and June Bugs.

Facebook never told me what was more offensive – the plump juicy chicken breasts or the June Bugs.

For the record, Facebook has the right to censor — it’s their company. And while they may censor conservative and Christian postings, Facebook is quite welcoming and affirming to leftwing diatribes against Republicans, religion and the Tea Party. I just wish the folks at Facebook were a bit more tolerant — and diverse.

So, there you have it, kind readers. Your friendly neighborhood columnist has become that neighbor – the one who mows his grass at midnight, the one who has a Buick up on blocks in the driveway — the rabble-rouser.

Be sure to get the rabble-rouser’s new book – God Less America – click here!

By Todd Starnes

President Obama issued a statement marking the one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon terrorist attack. But instead of calling it a terrorist attack, he called it a “tragedy.”

The president’s message to the nation did not include any reference to terrorism or Islamic extremism. Instead, he called the attack that left four dead and 260 injured a “tragedy” and an “unspeakable tragedy.”

Here’s President Obama’s statement:

“A year ago, tragedy struck at the 117th Boston Marathon. Four innocent people were killed that week, and hundreds more were wounded. Today, we remember Krystle Campbell, Lingzi Lu, Martin Richard, and Sean Collier. And we send our thoughts and prayers to those still struggling to recover.

We also know that the most vivid images from that day were not of smoke and chaos, but of compassion, kindness and strength: A man in a cowboy hat helping a wounded stranger out of harm’s way; runners embracing loved ones, and each other; an EMT carrying a spectator to safety. Today, we recognize the incredible courage and leadership of so many Bostonians in the wake of unspeakable tragedy. And we offer our deepest gratitude to the courageous firefighters, police officers, medical professionals, runners and spectators who, in an instant, displayed the spirit Boston was built on – perseverance, freedom and love.

One year later, we also stand in awe of the men and women who continue to inspire us – learning to stand, walk, dance and run again. With each new step our country is moved by the resilience of a community and a city. And when the sun rises over Boylston Street next Monday – Patriot’s Day – hundreds of thousands will come together to show the world the meaning of Boston Strong as a city chooses to run again.”

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By Todd Starnes

President Obama paid tribute to the 50th  anniversary of the Civil Rights Act today. He delivered a speech at the LBJ Library in Texas.

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It was quite remarkable watching the man who was supposed to usher in the post-racial presidency speak in such fond terms about a man who spewed words so racially charged it would make Lil’ Wayne blush.

The fact of the matter is – we are a racially divided nation.

If you believe the stuff the Democrats and MSNBC are spewing — conservatives  hate black people and wants to bring back slavery.

The Obama Administration is not so much defined by MLK’s” I Have A Dream” speech as it is the president’s “If I Had a Son” speech. And who can forget the infamous “Acting Stupidly Beer Summit”?

The fact of the matter is – this White House never met a race card they didn’t play.

These days  – you can’t even dream of a white Christmas without somebody accusing you of being a Jim Crow racist.

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By Todd Starnes

It’s almost Easter, but an incident that occurred just before Valentine’s Day crossed by desk — and it’s got me fired up.

A little boy cried after a Nazareth, Penn. teacher confiscated his Valentine’s Day cards because they contained religious messages and a Bible verse about Jesus, a lawsuit filed this week in federal court alleges.

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Imagine that. Jesus was not welcome in Nazareth. You can’t make this stuff up, folks – as documented in my upcoming new book, “God Less America.”

Alliance Defending Freedom filed a federal lawsuit against the Nazareth Area School District on behalf of Donald and Ellen Abramo and their son. They claim a teacher and the principal at Floyd R. Shafer Elementary School violated their son’s constitutional rights.

They allege that the little boy was prohibited from distributing St. Valentine’s Day cards to his classmates because the cards contained a sentence about the religious history of the holiday along with the Bible verse, John 3:16.

“To single out a faith-based message for censorship is exactly the type of hostility to religion that the First Amendment forbids,” ADF attorney Jeremy Tedesco said.

The school district did not return numerous calls seeking comment. A spokesman also declined to comment to the local newspaper.

The Alliance Defending Freedom lawsuit is jaw-dropping. The school was apparently so hostile to religion that the Abramo’s son was scared to pray over his meals because “he is afraid of getting in trouble.”

In early February, Abramo received a letter from her son’s teacher with instructions about the distribution of “Friendship Day” cards (also known as Valentine’s Day). It seems that Floyd R. Shafer is one of those “politically correct” public schools.

The note also instructed parents to avoid attaching candy the cards.

“Please remember not to attach anything other than non-edible treats or approved snack items to the Valentines,” the instructions read. See? It really is one of those “politically correct” public schools.

So instead of candy, the first-grader and his older siblings decided to include a message about the history of St. Valentine.

“St. Valentine was imprisoned and martyred for presiding over marriages and for spreading the news of God’s love,” the message read. “In honor of St. Valentine’s Day, I want you to know that God loves you!!!”

The card also included a Bible verse, John 3:16.

When the day came to distribute the cards, the boy’s teacher “became concerned about the religious message,” the lawsuit states.

The teacher immediately delivered the cards to the principal – identified in the lawsuit as William Mudlock.

“Principal Mudlock reviewed the cards and determined that, because of their religious nature (the boy) would not be allowed to distribute them,” the lawsuit states.

The principal then directed that the religious messages be removed from the cards and the cards were then placed in a bin. He believed the child was guilty of “proselytizing” his religious faith.

Boys and girls were able to distribute cards that included images of a skull and toy guns – but the card that included a message about Jesus was deemed to be offensive.

Later that afternoon Mrs. Abramo called the school searching for answers. The principal reiterated that the cards could not be distributed because of their religious nature. He said the cards might be “offensive” to someone, the lawsuit states.

He also claimed the school was prohibited from giving students any religious materials. Well, that’s rich because the school wasn’t passing out the cards – the little boy was.

In spite of her pleas, the school refused to back down – leading the little boy to break down in tears.

“He was very sad,” attorney Tedesco told me. “It’s a terrible message to send to kids. There were cards with guns and skeletons, yet his religious beliefs are taboo?”

The Abramos, who are Catholic, were not quite ready to let the incident slide by. So they contacted the school superintendent (the same one who won’t return my telephone calls). He didn’t return their calls either.

Instead, the school district’s attorney replied – a guy by the name of Gary Brienza. All I can say is — brace yourself for what he said.

“Mr. Brienza proceeded to tell the Abramos that under the U.S. Constitution there is both a ‘freedom of religion’ and a ‘freedom from religion,’” the lawsuit states.

“He claimed that the Constitution prohibits a person from imposing their religious beliefs on someone else; therefore, the school district can restrict a student from distributing religious materials,” the lawsuit further states.

I’m not sure what law school Brienza attended, but it might be a good idea for somebody to subpoena his Constitutional Law class grades.

I’m not sure if we’re dealing with a bunch of ignorant educators or a bunch of anti-Christian bigots. Neither bodes well for people of faith in the town of Nazareth.

It really takes a special kind of stupid to get worked up over a Valentine’s Day card. Pardon me, I meant to say Friendship Day card.

Be sure to get a copy of Todd’s upcoming book, “God Less America” — endorsed by Monica Crowley, Sean Hannity, Mike Huckabee and Karen Kingsbury. Click here to get your copy!