The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has held that the words "under God" contained in the pledge of allegiance are not a prayer, but a recognition of allegiance to the US government. Interestingly enough, the same court in 2002 said the words were an unconstitutional endorsement of religion.
Yesterday, the Court decided the phrase is ""a recognition of our founders’ political philosophy that a power greater than the government gives the people their inalienable rights . . . the pledge is an endorsement of our form of government, not of religion or any particular sect."
In dissent, Judge Stephen Reinhardt noted that when the phrase was added in 1954 by members of Congress, there is strong evidence they intended to do so to " . . . indoctrinate our nation’s children with a state-held religious belief."
The suit was brought by a local atheist, who said he would continue to press the issue with all available appeals.
Appeals Court says ‘Under God’ not a prayer | San Francisco Chronicle