The American Humanist Association, a secular group, recently sued the Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District of Aberdeen, New Jersey, for discrimination. The lawsuit, which was filed on behalf of an unnamed family from central New Jersey, contended that the phrase “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance is discriminatory against non-believers.
The Blaze reported that a judge dismissed the lawsuit today.
“It’s not the place of state governments to take a position on god-belief,” Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association, told Religion News Service before the lawsuit was dismissed. “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.”
The school district’s lawyer countered that students were not required to participate.
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Samantha Jones, a senior at Highland Regional High School in Blackwood, New Jersey, reacted to the American Humanist Association’s lawsuit by filing a response defending the phrase “under God.”
“I’m so grateful the court decided that kids like me shouldn’t be silenced just because some people object to timeless American values,” she said in a statement distributed through her attorneys at the Becket Fund.
“Ever since I was little, I’ve recited the Pledge of Allegiance because it sums up the values that make our country great. The phrase ‘under God’ protects all Americans — including atheists — because it reminds the government that it can’t take away basic human rights because it didn’t create them.”
In May 2014, the Supreme Judicial Court in the state of Massachusetts rejected a similar lawsuit.