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Highschooler Scores Victory in New Jersey Pledge of Allegiance Case


REGISTER STAFF

Source:
Nat. Cath. Register
Type:
Media/Opinion
Date:
4/17/2015

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ABSTRACTHighschooler Scores Victory in New Jersey Pledge of Allegiance Case | Daily News | NCRegister.com Print Edition:  April 19, 2015 Sign-up for our E-letter!   Donate News Blogs Radio Events Resources Advertise Store Subscriptions Make This My Homepage Resources Archives Jobs College Guide Arts & Entertainment Books Commentary Culture of Life Education In Person News Opinion Sunday Guides Travel Vatican Dan Burke Jeanette DeMelo Edward Pentin Mark Shea Matthew Warner Jimmy Akin Matt & Pat Archbold Joan Frawley Desmond Simcha Fisher Tito Edwards Jennifer Fulwiler Steven D. Greydanus Tom Wehner Our Latest Show About the Show About the Register Donate Subscribe Stations Schedule Other EWTN Shows Advertising Overview Policies & Guidelines Digital Ad Specs Print Ad Specs Editorial Calendar & Due Dates Order Web Ad Subscribe Discounted Bulk Subscriptions Give a Gift Subscription Renew Your Subscription Renew Your Gift Subscription Change of Address Missed Issues Payments Account Status General Customer Service Print Article | Email Article | Write To Us Daily News Daily News Highschooler Scores Victory in New Jersey Pledge of Allegiance Case (3193) An atheist group has dropped its bid to remove the pledge from state public schools, thanks to the efforts of Samantha Jones, backed by the Knights of Columbus and other groups. Tweet by REGISTER STAFF 04/17/2015 Comments (5) Samantha Jones, a senior at Highland Regional High School in Blackwood, N.J., stepped forward to defend the Pledge of Allegiance against a legal challenge launched by an atheist organization. – Facebook/The Pledge Girl BLACKWOOD, N.J. — When an atheist association challenged the Pledge of Allegiance’s place in public school over the words “under God,” New Jersey high-school student Samantha Jones decided with her family to step forward and defend it. After nearly a year of court battles, with support from the Knights of Columbus and the American Legion, Jones’ attorneys told her family that the struggle finally paid off. “I cried,” Jones told the Register about when she first heard the news over family dinner that the American Humanist Association (AHA) had decided not to appeal the court decision upholding the pledge. The AHA had sued the Matawan-Aberdeen School Board on behalf of an anonymous atheist student and his parents, arguing that reciting the pledge in the district’s public schools was unconstitutional in New Jersey because it had the words “under God.” Jones, a senior at Highland Regional High School in Blackwood, N.J., said her parents asked her and the rest of the family if they would like to intervene in the case and defend the pledge back in August 2014. “We were all raised to stand up for what we believed in,” explained Jones. “And I personally felt a huge pull to defend this. … I said ‘Yes’ as soon as my dad said it, and I do not regret that at all.” The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty argued the case in state trial court that year on behalf of Jones, who was joined by the Knights of Columbus and the American Legion. The court sided with Jones in a Feb. 4 decision and rejected the case, a ruling the AHA has now decided not to challenge. “Every case that has been brought on these issues has lost so far,” said Becket Fund attorney Diana Verm, who argued the case in November 2014. “Courts understand that it is not an establishment of religion to use religious imagery sometimes.” Verm said the battle over the Pledge of Allegiance is being fought now in state courts, since atheist activists have lost at the federal level. “The state cases are a real last-ditch effort, it seems,” she said.   Series of Victories The Becket Fund said in a media release the case marked its fifth consecutive victory in defending the pledge’s words of “one nation under God” and its second state victory in two years against the AHA over the pledge. The Becket Fund said AHA’s first state-level suit raised “identical claims” in Massachusetts, but the state’s high court unanimously ruled against them last year. The Register reached out to the AHA for comment, but received none by publication time. The AHA decided not to challenge the ruling from Monmouth County superior court Judge David Bauman that threw out the case they brought on behalf of an anonymous atheist student in public school and his parents. According to court documents, the AHA argued that the pledge violated the atheist student’s constitutional rights to equal protection under the New Jersey Constitution.  Judge Bauman, ruling in favor of the request by Jones, the Knights and American Legion to dismiss the case, noted that the New Jersey Constitution has included references to “Almighty God” in every variation from 1776 to.......