updated 11/29/2008 2:33:17 PM ET 2008-11-29T19:33:17

The clergyman credited with helping to push Congress to insert the phrase "under God" into the Pledge of Allegiance died in Alexandria, Pa., a church official said.

The Rev. George M. Docherty was 97.

Nancy Taylor, historian for the Huntingdon Presbyterian Church, said Docherty died on Thanksgiving at his home in Alexandria, with his wife, Sue, by his side.

Docherty delivered a sermon saying the pledge should acknowledge God in 1952 at Washington's New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, just blocks from the White House.

On Feb. 7, 1954, he delivered it again after learning that President Dwight Eisenhower would be at the church.

Congress inserted the words a few months later.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments