The state court in Albany ruled Wednesday that the Pledge of Allegiance, which allows all Americans to affirm their loyalty to the country, is still a statement of citizen’s rights only — not the property of the government.

The lawsuit, against the state of New York, involved Joseph Palermo, a parent at Packer High School in the Hudson Valley, who argued that the pledge would deprive his daughter of the “privileges and immunities of citizenship” if said aloud. The school board, however, argued that the pledge is a legal religious expression protected by the Constitution.

The court of appeals sided with the school board, explaining that while the pledge is constitutionally protected speech, its pledge to the country is protected from its inalienable rights — including freedom of religion.

While he himself did not read the pledge aloud, Palmermo sent his daughter to school in support of the pledge. After the decision, he was surprised that so many in the mainstream media had denounced it.

“It was one thing when the New York Post or the New York Times called it a political statement,” Palermo told the New York Post. “It is much different when a mainstream media organization like The New York Times or The Post is referring to it as a religious statement.”

“I do not take exception to their view that this is a religious statement and that we’re expressing our religious beliefs in this pledge,” he said, “but it is a statement of constitutional rights.”

“We’re not taking off anything to declare war on Islam, we’re not taking off anything to declare war on atheists,” Palermo added. “We’re not taking off anything to declare war on anybody. This is the Constitution’s view of how America ought to be, and it’s my responsibility as an American, as a parent and as a citizen, to make sure my children know how this nation works.”

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Read the full story at The Wall Street Journal.

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