In 1954, after intense lobbying from The Knights of Columbus, one of the country’s oldest enclaves of Catholicism, our Pledge of Allegiance adopted two more words, words that had heretofore not been part of the pledge, that have been a thorn in the side for many ever since. “Under God,” as in, “One nation, under God,” is a phrase that proponents of religious tolerance and freedoms have tried ever since to get pulled back out of the pledge, but always unsuccessfully.
The argument from the pro-“under God” people has always been essentially, “No one has to take the pledge, so your kid can just choose to sit down instead of saying ‘under god.'” This might be all well and good, but in Massachusetts, one group says that just encourages more ostracizing and feeling outside of the group, on top of it being antithetical to a child’s beliefs if they do not have a household spirituality everyone partakes in. Roy Speckhardt is the executive director of the American Humanist Association and they are the ones bringing the suit on the grounds that the pledge discriminates against atheist or agnostic children who do not wish to recite the “under God” element of the pledge.
The Massachusetts Supreme Court will hear the arguments today. Here’s a look at the issue via CNN: