New Jersey lawsuit seeks to ban Pledge of Allegiance

Elementary girl saying the Pledge of Allegiance toward a large American Flag.

Elementary girl saying the Pledge of Allegiance toward a large American Flag. Photo courtesy of glenda via Shutterstock

(RNS) The American Humanist Association is suing a New Jersey school district for its recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in public classrooms. The lawsuit, brought on behalf of a local family in central New Jersey, asserts the mandatory recitation of the pledge is discriminatory against nonbelievers because it includes the phrase “under God.” The lawsuit, filed against Monmouth County’s Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District, is the second case that reflects a change in strategy against the pledge. It contends the pledge violates a state constitution’s protection against religious discrimination; previous cases held the pledge violates the U.S. Constitution’s ban on the establishment of religion. The first such case, also brought by the AHA, is awaiting a decision in the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. “It’s not the place of state governments to take a position on god-belief,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “The current pledge practice marginalizes atheist and humanist kids as something less than ideal patriots, merely because they don’t believe the nation is under God.”
Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association and the Center for Humanist Activism, speaks at the launch of a new political action committee during a Washington press conference on Sept. 18, 2013. RNS photo by Katherine Burgess

Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association and the Center for Humanist Activism, speaks at the launch of a new political action committee during a Washington press conference on Sept. 18, 2013. RNS photo by Katherine Burgess


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A lawyer for the school district responded to the lawsuit by saying the district is following a state law that requires schools to have a daily recitation of the pledge. The AHA argues the pledge violates the New Jersey Constitution’s protection against discrimination due to “religious principles, race, color, ancestry or national origin.” The Pledge of Allegiance did not contain the phrase “under God” until 1954 when it was added by a vote of Congress as a protection against “godless Communism.” KRE/AMB END WINSTON The post New Jersey lawsuit seeks to ban Pledge of Allegiance appeared first on Religion News Service.

6 Responses to “New Jersey lawsuit seeks to ban Pledge of Allegiance”

  1. Patrick

    …About time this fascistic incantation was banned, too.

    But the Humanists want to ban it for the wrong reason.
    It should be banned because it is jingoistic gibberish, not because it mentions god.
    “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel,” said Dr. Johnson, and he was right, as usual.
    Do we really need any more scoundrels in America? Enough is enough, surely?

    “The Pledge of Allegiance did not contain the phrase “under God” until 1954 when it was added by a vote of Congress as a protection against “godless Communism.”

    …The imbecility of it all.

    • Denis Eble

      … yet, Patrick, you will find much resistance from those who, sadly, continue to believe that they still live in that era.

  2. nick batt

    I wouldn’t send my child to a school that didn’t say the pledge. Fascistic, how?
    Being patriotic doesn’t make you a scoundrel. The quote says just the opposite. If you’re a scoundrel, you might flee to patriotism. By the way, it was the Knights of Columbus that pushed the addition of “under God”. Good job.

  3. Patrick

    “Fascistic, how?”</i.

    Probably mere whimsicality on my part, Nick.
    …It just seems to me exactly the sort of thing the Nazis would get up to.
    But I may be wrong.
    …Maybe they didn’t.

  4. Michele Joseph

    Oh, my God.
    This time, I think I agree with Nick, although that is not possible, and I need a reality check from my shrink & therapist.
    What i think is wrong with this country. dating from the adversarial relation-ship
    between government & the people is that there was insufficient concern hwith this nation & it’s people, resulting in all jobs being sent to China.
    Also , I have noticed that I hypenate more than othet people do.
    What’s that about ?
    What is the purpose of a hyphen, if not to separate words that can stand on their own?
    I have forgotten !

  5. Michele Joseph

    In addition what is “</i." ?
    Are you ok. ?
    Best wishes.

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