Superior Court Judge David F. Bauman issued a decision on (Wednesday February 3rd 2015), stating that the recitation of the words “under God”, contained in the Pledge recited in schools does not violate rights guaranteed to individuals under the New Jersey Constitution. Now, be advised that this case and ruling is from February of this year, but the decision was just made available for publication on May 11th 2015.
Bauman’s ruling, which was made public on Friday, dismissed a lawsuit filed last year by the American Humanist Association, an organization that work to protect the rights of atheists and other non-religious groups. The lawsuit was intended to force the New Jersey School Districts to remove the words “Under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance.
Video below gives more details on the February 6th decision:
In his decision, Bauman notes that our Nation was founded on a belief in God, citing historical references to the Nation’s Founding Fathers, including George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, as well as the writers of the New Jersey Constitution.
Judge Bauman write’s; “In no way is religious freedom implicated in the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, from either a historical or practical perspective. The founding fathers embraced the then novel concept that a person could worship as he or she please without fear of prosecution or persecution, as Thomas Jefferson wrote in his “Notes on the State of Virginia, could not “be though secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people who these liberties are of the gift of God.”
He continues with; “Over and over, from the writing of the founders of the Constitution of both the United States and the State of New Jersey, emerges a faith in, and a reliance and even dependency upon god to help secure the blessings of liberties and freedom attendant upon good governance.”
“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 continues, “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.”
He also states that; “The Pledge of Allegiance, in historical context, is not to be viewed, and has never been viewed as a religious exercise. It is intended, rather, as a vehicle to transmit “unimpaired to succeeding generations” of American public school boys and girls, those core values of duty, honor, pride and fidelity to country on which the social contract between the United States and its citizens is ultimately based.”
Judge Bauman also noted in his decision that although New Jersey law requires daily recitation of the pledge in all of the state’s public schools, it does allow any child wishing to abstain from reciting it, to do so for any reason.
“There is no classification under the Pledge Statute because, on its face, the recitation of the Pledge is entirely voluntary,” Bauman said in the decision. He added that there is no evidence to suggest that the unidentified child on whose behalf the lawsuit was filed has ever been required to provide an explanation for not participating in the pledge.
Bauman in his decision included a passage from a House Report to Congress on the amendment:
“The Report states: “From the time of our earliest history, our peoples and our institutions have reflected the traditional concept that our Nation was founded on a fundamental belief in God. Since our flag is symbolic of our Nation, its constitutional government and the morality of our people, the committee believes it most appropriate that the concept of God be included in the recitations of the pledge of allegiance to the flag.”
Finally and what I think is most significant in regards to his decision, Bauman states;
“Subjective feelings, however, do not and cannot serve as a constitutional litmus test for equal protection in the absence of some invidious classification, because potentially anything offensive to one’s subjective sensibilities could be struck down as unconstitutional… Protecting students from viewpoints and ideas that may offend or upset them is not and has never been the role of public schools in America.”
Judge Bauman sums up his decision quite well in the last paragraph, by telling everyone that just because your “whiddle” feelings get hurt, it does not give you a right to claim un-Constitutionality. I believe he intended to make sure everyone understands that frivolous “feel good” nonsense has no business in his courtroom, nor does it have any business in our lives. One does not simply get a “participation” medal for living life, those are reserved for people who earn them. Stop whining about your “feelings” getting hurt… and worry about things that truly matter, like freedom and liberty.