We are once again back fighting the “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance battle that I thought had ended in victory in the 9th Circuit court of Appeals. In 2007 I wrote The Pledge: One Nation Under God to explain fully the history and need for having “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance to our Flag. Now a new case using the same argument that was used to legalize same-sex marriage has now been filed by an “anonymous” atheist who claims his child in public school does not want to say “under God.”
Rather than cite the First Amendment’s “separation of church and state” clause, the newest case is instead alleging that compulsory recitation violates the state’s equal protection laws. Because this is a new type argument we will once again have to fight all the way to the Supreme Court to preserve the same words in the Pledge that are part of our National Motto.
The following is reprinted from the Becket Fund:
[color-box] Becket Fund Fights for Students to Defend “Under God”
Doe v. Acton-Boxborough Regional School District, Massachusetts, 2011-current
After three failed attempts to strike down “under God” on the federal level, atheist advocates now seek to challenge it on the state level in Acton-Boxborough, Massachusetts.
On October 21, 2011, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty filed a request to intervene in the case on behalf of students who want to continue saying the Pledge of Allegiance, their parents, and the Knights of Columbus. The Becket Fund entered the case to defend the Pledge from yet another constitutional challenge to the words “under God”.
This case, brought by the American Humanist Society, alleges that the Pledge violates the equal protection rights of humanists and atheists and demands the court declare it unconstitutional under the Massachusetts Constitution. If they have it their way, Massachusetts will only allow patriotic ceremonies if they do not refer to God.
On June 8, 2012, a Massachusetts state court upheld the Pledge as constitutional. The case is now before the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. The court has scheduled oral argument for September 4, 2013.
Oral arguments can be viewed here.[/color-box]
Read The Pledge: One Nation Under God, by William J. Murray.