|By PR Newswire||
|April 25, 2014 10:02 AM EDT||
LAS VEGAS, April 25, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The International Raelian Movement and its spiritual leader, Maitreya Rael, today issued a statement of support for a family that is suing New Jersey's Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District for keeping the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. Under New Jersey state law, the pledge is recited daily by New Jersey schoolchildren.
The suit was filed in March with the assistance of the American Humanist Association, and a similar case is pending in Massachusetts, where a ruling is expected soon.
"The plaintiffs in these and other such cases are completely correct in insisting that a pledge that includes the words "under God" is discriminatory and detrimental to atheist and humanist students," said Raelian Guide Thomas Kaenzig, who successfully sued in a Nevada court for the right to have a separate naturalization/citizenship ceremony containing no religious references whatsoever, even by the officiating judge. He was the first person in U.S. history to do so.
"Although the lawyer for the New Jersey school district has stated that individual students don't have to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance, it's very clear that a child would feel pretty uncomfortable remaining silent on the side while everyone else stands up and recites together as a group," Kaenzig said. "When the majority of your classmates are voicing the same words day after day, there is enormous peer pressure to join in. Those who don't participate wind up being bullied, ridiculed or shunned. And remember, the U.S. Constitution guarantees us separation of church and state. A law like New Jersey's that requires schoolchildren to recite something containing religious words is unconstitutional.
He pointed out that the phrase "under God" was not part of the original Pledge of Allegiance.
"Many people don't realize it, but those words were only added in 1954, as part of a McCarthy-era tactic to combat communism," Kaenzig explained. "In 2014, we're long past that repressive and deplorable segment of U.S. history, and we have a population that runs the gamut of spiritual beliefs, including a large number of atheists and humanists. It's time to drop those two words from all public documents, government publications, oaths and public school activities, once and for all."
SOURCE Raelian Movement