We thought this debate was over long ago. It’s always been our understanding that no one can be compelled to recite the pledge, especially people who reject for “religious” reasons. That includes not only atheist who don’t believe but many Christians who don’t believe that one should pledge allegiance to anyone but GOD. By the same token, it’s our understanding that believers should be allowed to recite the pledge if they want. It’s called “freedom” under the Constitution. This shouldn’t be a matter of courts—rather, it should be a matter of choice.
Interestingly, this case might also expose some mythology about the pledge and the so-called founding fathers. Many people erroneously believe the Pledge of Allegiance has been around since the founding of the nation—not true. Although reportedly first composed by a man named Francis Bellamy in 1892, it was not adopted officially by Congress until 1945. And, folks fighting about the words “under GOD” might note that Mr. Bellamy did not include those words in the original pledge, nor were they in the version Congress first adopted. Those words weren’t added until 1954.
New Jersey School Sued Over ‘Under God’ in Pledge
A family is suing a New Jersey school district, contending that the phrase “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance discriminates against atheist children.
The lawsuit against the Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District was filed in state court last month and was 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 “under God” violate the state constitution.
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 don’t have to participate.