Religion

Girl Fights Atheist Group to Say 'Under God' in Pledge of Allegiance in School

| by Michael Allen

The American Humanist Association (AHA) filed a lawsuit earlier this year against the Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District to remove the phrase "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance.

The AHA's Appignani Humanist Legal Center is representing an Atheist family who objects to the phrase being recited at one of the schools within the New Jersey school district.

"Public schools should not engage in an exercise that tells students that patriotism is tied to a belief in God," AHA lawyer David Niose stated in April, noted The Huffington Post. "Such a daily exercise portrays atheist and humanist children as second-class citizens, and certainly contributes to anti-atheist prejudices."

The Christian-based Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is supporting the school district and claims its client, Samantha Jones, who goes to Highland Regional High School in Blackwood, New Jersey, has the right to say "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance.

According to the Becket Fund, Jones gave a statement in court on Wednesday in support of the school district against the AHA.

"I've been reciting the pledge since preschool, and to me the phrase 'one nation under God' sums up the history and values that have made our country great," stated Jones. "I think it's empowering to know that, no matter what happens, I have some rights the government can never take away. No student should be silenced just because some people disagree with timeless American values."

"The judge seemed focused on the case, he had prepared well, and he was familiar with the arguments of each of the parties," Diana Verm, a lawyer with the Becket Fund, told The Christian Post.

"He asked tough questions of each side, and it is difficult to predict the outcome, but we are optimistic that he will agree with every other court to decide this issue and uphold the pledge," added Verm.

However, Niose felt it went well for the AHA: "The judge heard arguments for over an hour, clearly understood what the main issues in the case are, and asked numerous questions to both sides during oral argument."

Sources: The Christian Post, The Huffington Post, Becket Fund / Image Credit: Staff Sgt. Clinton Firstbrook