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Atheist Lawsuit: 'Under God' Pledge Violates Schoolkids' Rights

Wednesday, 23 Apr 2014 03:27 PM

The words "under God" should be edited from the Pledge of Allegiance when it is recited in schools because they wrongly promote religion, according to a civil rights group that  has filed a lawsuit to stop it.

The Appignani Humanist Legal Center, which pursues cases involving "religious liberty, freedoms, and civil rights," is representing a New Jersey family who wants their local school district to remove the words.

The Monmouth County family filed suit Monday against the Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District.

"We have many atheists all across the country who simply want the public schools to be neutral in terms of promoting God belief or promoting disbelief," the center's legal director David Niose told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

When confronted with the fact that there is a Judeo-Christian majority in the U.S., Noice asked "Would you suggest, for example, that if some day there's an atheist majority in this country — which there certainly could be if trends continue — that [they] would have the right to dictate their religious beliefs in the morning exercise in public schools across the country?

"When there's an atheist majority, can we change the wording of the pledge to 'one nation under no God?' Of course not," Niose continued.

Niose added that the "under God" wording was only added to the pledge in 1954 in response to the Cold War with the Soviet Union.

"Before that, the pledge was 'one national indivisible.' That's perfectly good language. That is not anti-God language, it's neutral, and that's all we're asking for," he said.

"The Soviet Union fell 23 years ago. It was an anti-Soviet Union pledge. [Russian President Vladimir] Putin claims he's more religious than America is now.

"So we're really on the wrong side of this argument that somehow the 'under God' wording is needed to distinguish us from the Soviet Union."

Story continues below video.

Niose, who is former president of the American Humanist Association, said his clients' goal is simply not to be excluded in any "patriotic exercise" the school engages in.

"The law requires them to conduct this exercise every day ... The real question is whether the law is fair or not, and I don't think there's any way to seriously argue that the law is fair to atheists," Niose said.

"If you're an atheist child, your school is conducting every day an exercise that exalts God belief and marginalizes your religious [beliefs]."

In a statement released to the New York Daily News, the Matawan-Aberdeen schools said it was being unfairly targeted for following a state mandate.

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The words "under God" should be edited from the Pledge of Allegiance when it is recited in schools because they wrongly promote religion, according to a civil rights group that has filed a lawsuit to stop it.
atheists, Pledge of Allegiance, David Niose

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