In the least surprising news so far this month, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court upheld the constitutionality of the phrase “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance. The case was based on the state constitution, not the U.S. Constitution.
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled Friday that the daily recitation of the pledge of allegiance, including the words “under God,” in public schools does not violate the Massachusetts Constitution or discriminate against atheists.
At issue was whether the pledge and its reference to “one nation under God” violated the equal rights amendment in the state’s constitution, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of creed…
“Although the words ‘under God’ undeniably have a religious tinge,” the high court said in its decision, “The pledge, notwithstanding its reference to God, is a fundamentally patriotic exercise, not a religious one.”In its ruling the court took pains to make clear that reciting the pledge is voluntary, ” No Massachusetts school student is required by law to recite the pledge or to participate in the ceremony of which the pledge is a part. Recitation of the pledge is entirely optional.”
Such a disingenuous claim. Yes, it’s technically voluntary. But in the real world, in many parts of the country, not saying the Pledge paints a huge target on a kid’s back. Kids have been beaten up over this and worse. Families have been chased out of communities over this. But none of this is in any way surprising. The courts aren’t going to overturn the pledge any time soon.