The American Humanist Association, an atheist activist group, has decided to not appeal the recent decision of New Jersey Superior Court Judge David Bauman that said the words "Under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance are not discriminatory.
According to TheBlaze, a representative for the organization notified the independent news network about its decision to allow the 45-day appeal window to pass. The representative did not say exactly why the group elected to stop its legal efforts.
“The decision to give up the case marks the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty’s fifth victory in a row defending the words ‘one nation under God,’” said a press release written by The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, the victorious legal firm that represented New Jersey high school student Samantha Jones.
“I’m so grateful to know that I will be able to continue reciting the pledge in peace,” Jones said in a statement. “Ever since I was little, I’ve recited the Pledge of Allegiance because it sums up the values that make our country great.”
"The Pledge of Allegiance, in this historical context, is not to be viewed, and has never been viewed, as a religious exercise," Bauman wrote in his original decision in February.
Bauman explained that the pledge is a way to "transmit core values of duty, honor, pride and fidelity to country.” He concluded that the “Under God” reference in the pledge is a statement of patriotism as opposed to an endorsement of religious beliefs.
"Subjective feelings ... do not and cannot serve as a constitutional litmus test for equal protection," Bauman wrote.
This marks another loss for the American Humanist Association in its pursuit of removing the reference to God from the pledge. Last year, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court also rejected a lawsuit that claimed reciting the Pledge of Allegiance is a violation of student rights.
“Today the court affirmed what should have been obvious — ‘God’ is not a dirty word,” said Eric Rassbach, deputy general counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, last year. “And it isn’t discriminatory either. The words ‘under God’ are a reminder to our children that government doesn’t give us our rights and it can’t take them away either.”
“For those who have been attacking the pledge we would offer this: Our system protects their right to remain silent,” wrote Chief Justice Roderick Ireland. “But it doesn’t give them a right to silence others.”