MA Court Upholds Pledge of Allegiance

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.

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  • doublereed

    Why do people defend the pledge? It such a meaningless exercise. At least if it was compulsory it could have the purpose of brainwashing children. But if not it seems like it’s just a pointless waste of time.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    “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.”

    A “tinge.” Right.

    And the bit about adding the “under God” line was an attempt to merge religiosity with patriotism, which is exactly why is should be rejected.

  • matty1

    Maybe people need to start doing it with Belamy’s original salute.

  • Alverant

    Wasn’t there also something in there about a lack of harm as if students were never attacked because they weren’t christian.

  • John Pieret

    doublereed @ 1:

    Why do people defend the pledge?

    For the same reason dogs pee on trees … to mark their territory.

  • jameshanley

    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.

    In my small farm town in Indiana, back in the early 1970s, I remember my friend who was a Jehovah’s Witness stepping out of our elementary school classroom every morning when we did the pledge. The teacher didn’t make a big deal out of it, and always had someone poke their head out to let him know when we were done. Nobody else made a big deal out of it, either–when fellow students asked him why he did it, he just said it was against his religion, and I don’t think any of us actually understood, but we all just shrugged our shoulders and said, “oh, ok.”

    Indiana farm towns in the 1970s, whatever their charms, were not hotbeds of enlightenment. At least I would never have thought so. But we didn’t have attempts to have prayers every morning, or before football games. Maybe at our high school graduation–I honestly don’t remember. And we didn’t do full on religious songs at our Christmas concerts (although I think we did call them Christmas concerts, rather than winter concerts, at least until I was in high school).

    Live and let live on this just isn’t that hard a thing even for rural religious folk. At least in my experience.

  • plutosdad

    My wife told me in her small town in Texas she had a Jehovah’s Witness friend who also would not stand for the pledge (late 70s or early 80s) and no one ever thought anything of it. Of course, i wonder if saying “I am a Jehovah’s Witness” is somehow an acceptable excuse, while saying “I don’t believe in it” or “I am an atheist” will not be acceptable.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    “What does God need with a country?” ~ Dr “Bones” McCoy

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    jameshanley “…whatever their charms…hotbeds of enlightenment”

    Dibs on album title and band name!

  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    Also a tinge of religion: “gott mit una” and “deus vullt”

  • dingojack

    I wonder what the MA. Court’s position is on the voluntary addition of three lots of Sieg Heil at the end of the pledge?

    Dingo

  • https://www.facebook.com/daniel.pose.3 Daniel Pose

    No one should chant that anachronistic childish Nazi artifact known as the USA’s Pledge of Allegiance. The Pledge of Allegiance was the origin of the Nazi salute and Nazi behavior (see the work of the historian Dr. Rex Curry). The early pledge began with a military salute that was then extended outward to point at the flag (thus the stiff-arm gesture came from the pledge and from the military salute). It was written for kindergartners to be forced to recite it in government schools (socialist schools) on command and in unison. The pledge was written by an American socialist who influenced other socialists worldwide, including German socialists. The pledge continues to be the origin of Nazi behavior even though the gesture was changed to hide the pledge’s putrid past. It is bizarre that it continues to exist (though the stiff-armed salute was altered) and that intelligent(?) adults have been duped into the mechanical propaganda chanting.