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Atheists Still Fighting 'Under God' in Pledge After Acton Couple Loses Lawsuit

The Massachusetts Supreme Court this month ruled against an Acton couple that filed a lawsuit demanding "under God" be removed from the Pledge of Allegiance.

File photo.
File photo.
American atheists are continuing their fight to remove "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance after an Acton couple lost a legal challenge.

The couple, identified only as "John and Jane Doe" in court papers, filed a lawsuit seeking to remove "under God" from the Pledge, arguing it violates the state's nondiscrimination law. The couple said their children would be labeled "unpatriotic" when they refused to recite the pledge in school.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court this month ruled against the couple.

"The fact that a school or other public entity operates a voluntary program or offers an activity that offends the religious beliefs of one or more individuals, and leaves them feeling ‘stigmatized’ or ‘excluded’ as a result, does not mean that the program or activity necessarily violates equal protection principles," Chief Justice Roderick Ireland wrote, according to the Boston Globe.

"We are very disappointed by the court’s ruling," said David Niose, legal director for the American Humanist Association, in a statement. The association filed the lawsuit on behalf of the couple.

"No child should go to public school every day ... and be faced with an exercise that portrays his or her religious group as less patriotic," Niose added.

Undeterred, the humanist association recently filed a similar lawsuit on behalf of a New Jersey couple.

"We continue to strive for the rights of Americans who are good without a god, working in the courts of law and the courts of public opinion," said American Humanist Association Executive Director Roy Speckhardt. "With the growing numbers of humanists and atheists across the country, it’s only a matter of time before we restore the Pledge of Allegiance to the more inclusive ‘one nation indivisible.'"

Chervine Lamb May 19, 2014 at 07:23 PM
Under g0d was not in the pledge allegiance when we were in grade school ... It should be restored to its original form, the way our founding fathers wanted it ...
Jim Snyder-Grant May 23, 2014 at 09:34 AM
I suspect many of the founding fathers would have found a pledge too reminiscent of monarchy. It was written in 1892 and approved by Congress in 1942. 1954 brought the two extra controversial words.
Danny May 19, 2014 at 09:00 PM
They succeeded in getting prayer out of schools- just a matter of time before that part is removed from the Pledge. "In 2002, a three judge panel on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that classroom recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in a California public school was unconstitutional, even when students were not compelled to recite it, due to the inclusion of the phrase "under God." In reaction to the case, Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow, both houses of Congress passed measures reaffirming their support for the pledge, and condemning the panel's ruling.[44] The case was appealed to the Supreme Court, where the case was ultimately overturned in June 2004, solely on procedural grounds not related to the substantive constitutional issue. Rather, a five-justice majority held that Newdow, a non-custodial parent suing on behalf of his daughter, lacked standing to sue." So, get enough class action lawsuits underway, and it will happen.

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