New Jersey school sued over ‘under God’ in pledge

During the second round of the AT&T National golf tournament at Congressional Country Club, Friday, July 3, 2009, in Bethesda, Md. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)
During the second round of the AT&T National golf tournament at Congressional Country Club, Friday, July 3, 2009, in Bethesda, Md. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)

FREEHOLD, N.J. (AP) — A family is suing a New Jersey school district, contending that the phrase “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance discriminates against atheist children.

The lawsuit against the Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District was filed in state court last month and was announced Monday by the American Humanist Association. The group says the phrase, added in 1954, “marginalizes atheist and humanist kids as something less than ideal patriots.”

The anonymous plaintiffs say those two words “under God” violate the state constitution.

But school district lawyer David Rubin says the district is merely following a state law that requires schools to have a daily recitation of the pledge. He says individual students don’t have to participate.

The humanist group is awaiting a ruling from a court on a similar case in Massachusetts.

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