Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Monday, January 19, 2015

Court Rules Again That the Pledge Is Constitutional

The highest court in Massachusetts has ruled that using the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools does not violate the rights of atheists. That shouldn’t be particularly surprising, but one family in the Acton-Boxborough School District didn’t agree. The family are atheists, and their children don’t recite the pledge because of the phrase “under God.” That’s not a problem at school, because reciting the pledge is completely voluntary for students. However, the family complained that their children might be bullied or labelled unpatriotic, and so they sued. Their attorney told the court that the pledge defines patriotism—although no one at the school has said that. He also claimed that the pledge is used to indoctrinate children into belief in God.

The judge said there wasn’t any evidence of mistreatment of the children. The family couldn’t provide any example of bullying, and there’s no evidence that the school evaluates children’s patriotism based on the Pledge. That’s the family and the attorney’s idea, not the school’s. The judge said he would not strike down a voluntary activity just because somebody doesn’t like it. He pointed out that just because something offends you, that doesn’t mean it’s a violation of your rights. Isn’t it refreshing to hear a judge say that?

The superintendent said that the district was glad to continue their longstanding tradition of reciting the pledge in school. I’m glad, too, that the court was so sensible, but the bill for all this nonsense gives me pause. This frivolous, four-year legal battle cost the school district’s taxpayers more than $60,000. All so the court could explain, as other courts have consistently explained, that letting children choose to recite the Pledge is constitutional. I think the atheist family’s flagrant waste of tax dollars is far more offensive than having to hear their classmates speak the phrase “under God.”

Listen to the radio commentary here:

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