A family of atheists from New Jersey, who prefer not to reveal their names, have issued a lawsuit against the school constituency of Matawan-Aberdeen. The complainants are demanding to exclude the words that the nation is “under God” from a patriotic recitation with which every school day begins.
These words are infringing the rights of atheists, imposing a concept that atheists are allegedly less patriotic than believers, the complainants are saying.
They are also calling this practice “discriminatory” and contradicting the New Jersey State’s constitution.
The family filed this claim together with the organization that calls itself The American Humanist Association. This organization, which has more than 24,800 members, defends the interests of atheists in the USA. Its members, as they claim, confess “the values of the epoch of Enlightenment”.
The authors of the claim are saying that in today’s USA, atheists are in fact perceived as a minority, together with immigrants, Muslims and homosexuals.
The obligatory patriotic recitation before classes has been practiced in American schools within many decades, but its text has undergone several changes within this time. The words that the nation is “under God” were added in 1954, the epoch of the anti-Communist hysteria orchestrated by the notorious Senator McCarthy.
The American Humanist Association says that now, many years after the collapse of the Communist regime in the Soviet Union, the Communist threat has already long become a thing of the past – if it has ever existed at all.
In his turn, the lawyer of the Matawan-Aberdeen school constituency David Rubin says that by making the pupils say this recitation with the words about God, the school’s administration does nothing but obeys an instruction that is obligatory for all schools in the New Jersey State. The same practice is observed in all the school constituencies of the state, Mr. Rubin adds. If the initiators of the lawsuit want to challenge this practice, they should issue a suit not against the school’s administration, but against the state’s authorities, the lawyer adds.