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Pledge of Allegiance Lawsuit: 'Under God' Discriminates Against Atheists

Image: Pledge of Allegiance Lawsuit: 'Under God' Discriminates Against Atheists

By Alexandra Ward   |   Tuesday, 22 Apr 2014 10:43 AM

A new Pledge of Allegiance lawsuit has cropped up in New Jersey with a family arguing that the phrase "under God" discriminates against atheists and creates an "official public atmosphere of disapproval" for their religious preferences.

A Monmouth County family has teamed up with the American Humanist Association in a lawsuit against the Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District and its superintendent David M. Healy. The suit argues that the pledge "violates the right to equal protection under the state Constitution," according to NorthJersey.com.

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"It’s not the place of state governments to take a position on god-belief," Roy Speckhardt, AHA executive director, said in a statement. "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."

However, lawyers for the school district claim that administrators are simply following state law, which mandates that the pledge be said every day. Furthermore, federal precedent has established that it's OK to have students recite the pledge each day as long as those who object are not forced to do so.

"We are disappointed that this national organization has targeted Matawan-Aberdeen for merely obeying the law as it stands," school district lawyer David B. Rubin said in a written statement.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court is currently debating a similar case, NorthJersey.com noted.

Congress voted to add the phrase "under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954 to fight against "godless Communism."

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