Use of "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools has stirred controversy over the years, as critics argue that the phrase violates the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause, which requires a separation of church and state.
Jessica Andrews, a mother of six, learned that her daughter would be reciting the Pledge of Allegiance every day, but the school’s version of the pledge was missing a few words, Fox News reports.
“It was like an ‘Oh my gosh’ type of feeling,” Andrews told Fox News’ Todd Starnes. “It didn’t have ‘under God’.”
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Andrews’ daughter is a fourth grader at Chukker Creek Elementary School in Aiken, South Carolina.
“It’s outrageous, to be honest,” Andrews told Starnes. “It seems like the government is doing everything they can to take God out of everything.”
In a written correspondence, the school’s principal contends, “This was a single mistake by a very embarrassed and apologetic teacher. The teacher failed to proof the paper.”
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When respondents were asked whether the words “under God” should be taken out from or remain in the Pledge of Allegiance, 85 percent of respondents opted to keep the current wording, while 8 percent said it should be omitted.
Twenty-five percent of Americans did, however, raise objections over forcing students to say “under God,” saying it violates children’s rights, meaning schools legally can’t make them recite it.
Also earlier this year, the American Humanist Association, an advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., sued a New Jersey school district on behalf of a family that believes the phrase is discriminatory toward atheist children, The Associated Press reports.
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 violate the state constitution's right to equal protection.