An Atheist family in New Jersey is suing the Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District because they feel their Atheist children’s rights are being trampled upon because they’re exposed to the phrase “under God” during the pledge of allegiance, according to KSDK on Tuesday.
The anonymous plaintiffs claim their Atheist children are being discriminated against when reciting the pledge of alliance, during the point in which the class recites the phrase “under God.”
The plaintiff’s lawsuit claims the “under God” phrase “marginalizes atheist and humanist kids as something less than ideal patriots.”
David Noise, legal director of the American Humanist Association (a secular organization) criticized the pledge of allegiance saying, “Children are taught that patriotism is defined a certain way. They’re taught to associate belief in God with patriot feelings. Certainly, with that being taught, the atheists look like an outsider. The atheist is stigmatized.”
Lawyer David Rubin, who represents the Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District in New Jersey, says that kids are not forced to recite any of the pledge of allegiance, either in part or in whole, although New Jersey law requires schools to recite the pledge each morning. Rubin says individuals can opt out.
A similar case is currently being litigated in Massachusetts. The American Humanist Association says the outcome of that case will determine how they proceed in other cases throughout the U.S..