Adoption, abortion and the pledge: Controversial religious liberty cases
Public schools have long been a battleground over religious freedom. One of the latest disputes is in Massachusetts, where an anonymous atheist family sued the school district over the daily recitation of The Pledge of Allegiance, in particular the phrase "under God," which was added to the pledge in 1954.
While past lawsuits over the pledge have been claims that it violates the First Amendment's Establishment Clause, this latest case alleges the daily recitation violates the state's equal rights act by casting atheists as unpatriotic second-class citizens. It's an approach that has been successful in challenging traditional marriage statutes in the other states.
Supporters of the pledge, who argue the term "under God" is not a religious declaration but instead a political philosophy, fear if the Massachusetts Supreme Court rules against the pledge it will trigger similar lawsuits in other states.
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