SCA President Tries “Under God” Case in Mass. Supreme Court Today

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The Secular Coalition for America today expressed support for the plaintiff in the case "Doe v. Acton-Boxborough Regional School District." Secular Coalition for America President, David Niose, attorney for the plaintiff, today will present oral arguments before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in the case.


The case challenges a state law that requires daily school-sponsored and teacher-led classroom recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. Niose, on behalf of his client, is expected to argue that the wording "under God" in the Pledge discriminates against atheists and other nonbelievers, by instilling and defining patriotism according to a god belief.

"Atheist-humanist children love their country no less than do children who believe in God, and it's just wrong to have a daily patriotic exercise that invalidates them by associating patriotism with God-belief," said Niose. "If schools conduct a daily exercise to instill national loyalty," he added, "it should be inclusive and nondiscriminatory."

The Equal Protection clause was cited in Brown vs. Board of Education (1954) to fight racial discrimination, and has also been the basis for many other decisions rejecting discrimination against people belonging to various groups.

Written By: Secular Coalition for America
continue to source article at secular.org

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  1. Even in this day and age, when information is literally available at the tip of your fingers, there are still people who think that ‘god’ was always in the pledge since it was first written.

    I remember being repeatedly castigated, along with my fellow classmates, by my 3rd grade teacher for starting with “I pledge of allegiance …”. It drove her nuts.

  2. I used to get those shame posts from FB friends about once a week where they want you to share the pledge around. I tell them I’ll share every part of it that was written before 1950. After seeing this a few times the more enterprising ones googled for a reason why that would be my answer. Now I have fewer FB friends and no shame posts to deal with

  3. I am old enough to remember when we were told that from now on UG would be inserted, but even then, as a 16-year-old, I had reservations about the Pledge itself. It seemed to me to be somehow 1984-ish to recite a patriotic pledge in unison every day before starting on classroom work. I still refuse to recite it. I can almost hear booted heels click when it is recited, and I will not recite it even if UG is removed, which of course I hope it will be. But removing UG is only one step in the right direction. Forced patriotism is not as oppressive as theocracy, but it gets honorable mention. I’d like to see the whole damn thing disappear.

    • I completely agree with 78.

      I don’t think teachers or parents realize that, for probably most young kids, the pledge of allegiance has no meaning – it’s just something they’re told to memorize and recite (I didn’t even learn the word “allegiance” at the time – I thought I was pledging something called a “legence”. Also, I couldn’t understand why our nation was considered to be “invisible”). Of course, that changes once kids become old enough to understand what they’re saying.

      Regardless, I don’t hold patriotism as a virtue. Quite the opposite – I see it as just brainwashing in order to get teenagers to want to join the military. Forcing kids to recite the pledge feels just as wrong to me (if not worse) as having a mandatory classroom prayer.

  4. I find it utterly silly to worry about whether “god” is mentioned in a pledge like this. I’d rather see that such irrational and detestable things like religion and blind patriotism should go with the same bath water.

    What I find deeply worrying is that in 2013, in a country that calls itself a democracy, underage children are required to pledge such allegiance to a flag and a political establishment. It is simply indecent for a modern civilized country. It is militaristic brainwashing, very Orwellian indoctrination.

    I’m trying very hard not to bring Godwin into this, but finding it difficult.

  5. Question to Americans,

    What difference has saying the daily pledge actually done for America? (never mind the wording) Most other countries seem to manage quite well without any daily pledge.

    • In reply to #10 by old-toy-boy:

      Question to Americans,

      What difference has saying the daily pledge actually done for America? (never mind the wording) Most other countries seem to manage quite well without any daily pledge.

      Rhetoric aside, the pledge is “grandfathered in”, along with baseball and apple pie.

      • In reply to #13 by bluebird:

        along with baseball and…

        But of course baseball was invented in the UK, probably in Surrey. It was also mentioned in ‘Northanger Abbey’ forty years before the Americans ‘invented’ it.

        • In reply to #14 by Hugh Jampton:

          But of course baseball was invented in the UK, probably in Surrey. It was also mentioned in ‘Northanger Abbey’ forty years before the Americans ‘invented’ it.

          Roger that. Invisible airwaves are crackling with the life of baseball here in the mid-west. Hotdog w/ mustard, stat!

          In a similar vein, I think placing hand on heart during the SSB at sporting events is archaic and weird.

  6. Is it compulsory to do this at school? Surely they can see the irony of being made to take a pledge allegiance, that has the work “liberty” in it?

    It all seems a bit Chairman Mao…

    (I’m not having a go American friends, I just find it amusing)

    • In reply to #11 by Johnny_O:

      Is it compulsory to do this at school? Surely they can see the irony of being made to take a pledge allegiance, that has the work “liberty” in it?

      It all seems a bit Chairman Mao…

      (I’m not having a go American friends, I just find it amusing)

      funny you should say that I was just thinking of suggesting they replace “God” with “-written by Chinese creditors”

      reminder from Porky Pig

  7. *In reply to #15 by bluebird:

    In a similar vein, I think placing hand on heart during the SSB at sporting events is archaic and weird.

    Why do we have to have the SSB played at all at these games when it’s Americans competing against ourselves? I can see that a team’s National Anthem should be played at the Olympics or other competitive international events but why not just have a team fight song or some other song that the crowd can relate to.

    Since I’m from Boston, I would like to dispense with the SSB and have the game start off with the following song for our team The Red Sox.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5apEctKwiD8

    • In reply to #16 by LaurieB:

      Why do we have to have the SSB played at all…

      My bad, that’s what I meant.

      Been a spell since I’ve heard ‘Dirty Water’ (fun video!) – any song by the band Boston could work, too ;P

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