Lawsuit Filed in NJ to Change Pledge of Allegiance [AUDIO]
The American Humanist Association -- on behalf of an unnamed family -- is suing the Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District, as part of an effort to have the words "under God" removed from the Pledge of Allegiance that's recited every day by the students.
Many people have never even heard of the American Humanist Association before.
"The suit that's been filed is an equal protection lawsuit," said the legal director of the American Humanist Association, David Niose. "Using the phrase 'under God' is unconstitutional because it discriminates against atheists and humanists."
He stressed humanists are not just atheists.
"Humanists believe in affirmative values, they believe in progressive values, human rights, civil rights, ethics, that sort of thing," he said. "Humanism is an entire worldview. Along with it is the belief that you don't need a God to be good, that you don't need God for ethics."
Niose believes removing the words "under God" is really an effort to promote patriotism.
A lot of people don't even know the words 'under God' were added to the Pledge of Allegiance during the McCarthy era back in the 1950s," he said. "Prior to 1954, the Pledge of Allegiance was 'one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all' -- beautiful words and very inclusive, one nation indivisible. Since the McCarthy era we've had this very exclusive, divisive wording in the Pledge of Allegiance and we're simply seeking to get back to the way that it was."
He also said "we wouldn't want a pledge that says there is no God either; a lot of people say this is about making the pledge atheistic, that's simply not true. By removing the 'under God' wording we're making it perfectly neutral. Let's just leave God out of it."