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“Proclaiming ‘God Bless America’ Each Day Must Cease…”

“Proclaiming ‘God Bless America’ Each Day Must Cease…” May 8, 2019

Pixabay/Public Domain

Details from Springfield, Pennsylvania:

Students at Sabold Elementary School will no longer proclaim “God bless America” every morning — and the change is drawing some national attention.

Each morning Principal Peter Brigg used the public address system to lead the children in the Pledge of Allegiance, which conforms to state law. He followed that by saying “God bless America,” which has become a Sabold custom for several years.

As students recited the pledge, they were inclined, but not compelled, to say the phrase as well. At least one parent took exception to this practice and contacted the Freedom from Religion Foundation, making a case it violated a portion of the First Amendment.

 A letter to district Superintendent Tony Barber, dated March 25, 2019, from foundation legal counsel Christopher Line read, in part, “A concerned Springfield School District parent has reported that Sabold Elementary School proclaims ‘God Bless America’ over the loudspeaker following the Pledge of Allegiance each morning. The Establishment Clause in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits government sponsorship of religious messages.”

Line continued citing various case law and theoretical reasons to support this position. It concluded by stating, “Sabold Elementary School’s practice of proclaiming ‘God Bless America’ each day must cease immediately. Please inform us in writing of the actions you are taking to remedy this constitutional violation so that we may inform our complainant.”

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