Massachusetts’ Supreme Judicial Court has agreed to hear the appeal of a non-religious family that’s challenging the mandatory daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in their children’s classrooms.
The family, who are secular humanists, claim that the phrase “under God” in the pledge is a violation of the state’s constitutional ban on religious discrimination.
In June, a lower court ruled against the family, saying the required recitation of the pledge was not discriminatory because it did not uphold one religion over another. The family appealed, and will now gain a hearing from the state’s highest court.
The battle to remove “under God” from the pledge has been a long and, so far, unsuccessful one within atheist circles. California atheist Michael Newdow unsuccessfully argued for its removal before the U.S. Supreme Court in 2004.
This time, the suit seeks protection under a state constitution’s equal protection measure, not under the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of the separation of church and state.