'Under God' part of Pledge of Allegiance under review in Massachusetts (CNN)

The Pledge of Allegiance is recited in classrooms across the country every morning -- and because of the words "under God," it is heard in courtrooms across the country seemingly just as often these days.

Every attempt to eliminate the mention of God has thus far failed, but the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts will hear arguments on Wednesday seeking removal of the two words for a new reason: discrimination.

"This is the first challenge of its kind" said Roy Speckhardt, the executive director of the American Humanist Association, an atheist group arguing for the plaintiffs. "We feel very confident that we have a strong case."

That case, which was brought by an unidentified family of a student at a school in suburban Boston, will be argued on the premise that the pledge violates the Equal Rights Amendment of the Massachusetts Constitution. It is the first such case to be tried on the state level: All previous attempts have been argued in federal court on the grounds that 'under God' was an unconstitutional violation of the separation of church and state.

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To be honest, I'm dubious that this attempt at removing what was inserted into the Pledge back in 1954, pushed by the Knights of Columbus as a snub against "godless communism," will succeed, but I admire and support the drive of those making the attempt.  That there have been many such recent attempts to remove "under god" from the Pledge of Allegiance tells me that there is an increasing interest in reinforcing the separation of church and state and that those who find the encroaching influence of religion in secular life abhorrent are growing in numbers and strength.

I wish those pursuing this case the best.

Tags: Massachusetts, Pledge of Allegiance, under god

Views: 332

Replies to This Discussion

I, too, am skeptical about the success of this action.  However, it is the first time it has been argued under the equal rights provision so it is at least a new direction.  If nothing else it will once more draw attention to this nonsensical wording and let people know once again that it has not been there since the founding of the country.

It almost never comes to a real decision.  It's been shot down repeatedly, because the plaintiff is determined to not have standing, for some reason.  Looks like they have that sewn up, in this case.

I always remain silent for that phrase and do not repeat it.  I urge everyone to do the same.  Perhaps there will come a day when there will only be a few voices that repeat that phrase.  Soon after, the phrase will simply be dropped.  Fantasy Fiction?  Perhaps, but I dream. 

It's an interesting idea to merely be silent for that phrase. I would like to think that eventually the voices speaking it would become fewer. The court case in Massachusetts may be just what is needed to bring change about more quickly. I do find it sad, though, that like prayer in school and at sporting events, etc., it always comes down to a case being filed by (or on behalf of) a student in junior high or high school, at an age when these kids are establishing their identities and are rather vulnerable. The other students (and adults) are going to do their best to make the life of the plaintiff miserable. It takes a lot of courage for a young person to do this.

Very true ... and yet there are students and former students out there who go for it, grasp the nettle and face the problem head-on.  Jessica Ahlquist and Zack Kopplin are two amazing examples and damned admirable for their willingness to face down the elephant in the room.

Yes, Jessica and Zack truly are amazing young individuals.  When I think about how I, personally, was as a person at their age, well........let's just say I had a lot of growing up to do.  I admire them and other young folks like them.  They have tackled issues that even many adults have shied away from and have spoken eloquently and maturely. 

I think about myself at their age and all I can do is go, UGH!  Thankfully, to paraphrase Dylan, the times, they HAVE changed!

I agree. These are courageous young people who stand up for what they believe. Very admirable.

Attacking the pledge on the grounds of freedom of speech might be a good idea too. That is, pressuring a person to speak "under god" via an implicit threat of ostracizing him or her for doing otherwise would infringe on that individual's FOS.

It is rather what it does, isn't it?  It also contradicts the very language of the pledge.  I mean, are we ONE NATION or aren't we?

I'm rather skeptical about this. But my hat's off to them for giving it the 'ole college try. It would be wonderful if they're successful. One can only hope.

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