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Atheist lawsuit claims ‘under God’ in NJ school’s daily pledge recital harms children

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On Saturday, the American Humanist Association filed a lawsuit in New Jersey on behalf of an atheist family seeking to erase the phrase “one Nation under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance.

According to the lawsuit, “John Doe and Jane Doe are atheists…who have personally experienced the public’s prejudice against atheists.” They have been told they are “arrogant for not believing in God,” and “Doechild is…aware of unfavorable public attitudes toward atheism, and has in fact been personally confronted and shouted at in response to his openly identifying as atheist.”

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Because of this, John and Jane Doe do not believe Doechild — who attends a public school in the Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District — should be forced to recite the Pledge of Allegiance on a daily basis, as that forces Doechild into a position in which classmates will come to recognize that he is a non-believer.

David Niose, an attorney for the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center, said in a statement on Monday that “[p]ublic schools should not engage in an exercise that tells students that patriotism is tied to a belief in God. Such a daily exercise portrays atheist and humanist children as second-class citizens, and certainly contributes to anti-atheist prejudices.”

According to the lawsuit, “[p]laintiffs have suffered and continue to suffer actual harm as a direct and proximate result of the Defendants’ policies and actions of conducting the regular classroom Pledge exercise as described, for the exercise publicly disparages Plaintiffs’ religious beliefs, calls Plaintiffs’ patriotism into question, portrays Plaintiffs as outsiders and second-class citizens, and forces Doechild to choose between nonparticipation in a patriotic exercise or participation in a patriotic exercise that is invidious to him and his religious class.”

Philosophically, John and Jane Doe object to the fact that the Pledge’s “‘under God’ language sends a message to public school children, and indeed to the general public, that the government favors belief in God.”

A similar case, also being forwarded by the American Humanist Association, is currently awaiting a decision before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

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[“Pledge” via United States Department of Agriculture on Flickr, Creative Commons Licensed]


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‘Breadth and scale’ of nationwide protests is ‘staggering’: NYU history professor

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Protests continued to grow in size in cities and towns from coast-to-coast -- and around the world.

"As a historian of social movements in the U.S., I am hard pressed to think of any time in the past when we have had two straight weeks of large-scale protests in hundreds of places, from suburbs to big cities," NYU history Prof. Tom Sugrue posted on Twitter.

"The breadth and scale of #Floyd protests is staggering," he continued.

"We have had some huge one-day demonstrations, e.g. March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom (1963); antinuclear march in NYC (1982), and Women's March (2017). We have widespread, simultaneous protests, such as in the days following MLK, Jr.'s assassination (1968)," he explained. "But the two together--very unusual."

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Incel blew his hand off — and may have been planning for suicide bomber attack on ‘hot’ cheerleaders: report

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A young man in Virginia was photographed for his mugshot with extensive facial injuries.

"A 23-year-old Virginia man who appeared to be planning an incel bomb attack on "hot cheerleaders" accidentally blew off his hand with explosives, authorities say," BuzzFeed News reported Saturday. "Cole Carini was charged in federal court on Friday connection with the plot after he allegedly lied to FBI agents by saying his extensive injuries were the result of a lawnmower accident."

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Big turnout for protest in Texas town known as a ‘haven’ for the Ku Klux Klan

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Protesters gathered in Vidor, Texas on Saturday for a rally against racism and police violence.

https://twitter.com/JordanJamesTV/status/1269366486189080576

The East Texas town has long had a reputation for racism.

Vidor is a small city of about 11,000 people near the Texas Gulf Coast, not too far from the Louisiana border. Despite the fact that Beaumont, a much bigger city just 10 minutes away, is quite integrated, Vidor is not. There are very few blacks there; it's mostly white. That is in large part because of a history of racism in Vidor, a past that continues to haunt the present," Keith Oppenheim reported for CNN in 2006.

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