A New Jersey judge has decided to keep the wording "one nation under God" in the pledge of allegiance recited daily by students in the state.
Samantha Jones, a senior at Highland Regional High School, won her case last week in her quest to protect the rights of students in the state to recite the pledge each morning in its entirety. The judge decided to dismiss the case brought on by the American Humanist Association after hearing testimony from Jones on the subject, writes Casey Harper for The Daily Caller.
The case first began when an unnamed family sued the Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District to argue that the phrase "under God" was discriminatory. The American Humanist Association filed the case, believing that reciting the pledge is in violation of Article 1 of the state's constitution.
Jones, who attends another school, did not feel the same way and fought back, arguing that the phrase "acknowledges that our rights don't come from the government but from a higher power, so they can't take away the rights."
"I don't think that it's as much about religion as it is about our rights. Everyone has the right to remain silent but they don't have the right to silence everybody else," she told Fox News.
A written decision was issued by Superior Court Judge David F. Bauman earlier last week saying reciting those words within the pledge of allegiance did not in fact violate any individual rights protected under the New Jersey Constitution. The written statement went on to say that the nation was founded on a belief in God, citing numerous historical examples from the founding fathers.
"The words "under God' are now as interwoven through the fabric of the Pledge of Allegiance as the threads of red, white and blue into the fabric of the flag to which the Pledge is recited," Bauman wrote in the decision. "As a matter of historical tradition, the words "under God' can no more be expunged from the national consciousness than the words "In God We Trust' from every coin in the land, than the words "so help me God' from every presidential oath since 1789, or than the prayer that has opened every congressional session of legislative business since 1787."
Bauman added that the Pledge was never meant to hold any religious meaning, but was meant to convey the "duty, honor, pride and fidelity" that the United States is based on.
David Rubin, attorney for the school district, believes the American Humanist Association will appeal the ruling, although he thinks the ruling will be upheld.
The American Humanist Association has not expressed any interest in an appeal yet.
Bauman added that although New Jersey law does require a daily reciting of the pledge by public school students in the state, any student may choose not to participate for any reason, including religious, political or any moral principals.
Meanwhile, the NBC show "Allegiance" used the pledge in a promo for the show, choosing to omit the word "God." In the promo, the pledge instead reads, "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands. One nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." The network has yet to respond as to why it chose to omit the word, writes Douglas Ernst for The Washington Times.