Religious Law

'Under God' in Pledge violates Massachusetts Constitution, lawyer argues in state's top court

The phrase “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance is being challenged in Massachusetts’ top court.

A lawyer representing an atheist family in suburban Boston argued on Wednesday that the phrase violates the equal rights amendment in the Massachusetts Constitution, report the Religion News Service, NBC News and the Boston Herald. The amendment says “all people are born free and equal,” and equality cannot be abridged by “sex, race, color, creed or national origin.”

Lawyer David Niose, former president of the American Humanist Association, told the justices that the state is “promoting and propagating the idea that good patriots are God believers,” according to the Boston Herald account.

The case is on appeal after a trial judge noted the Pledge is voluntary and the phrase “ ‘under God’ does not convert the exercise into a prayer.”

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