Today the American Humanist Association launched a national campaign to encourage people to sit out the Pledge of Allegiance until the phrase “under God” is removed from it.
The campaign includes YouTube video ads, as well as bus stop advertisements placed in New York City and Washington, D.C. Ads will direct viewers to a website, DontSaythePledge.com, which provides information about the history of the Pledge, including that “under God” was not added until 1954, during the McCarthy era, and that a 1943 U.S. Supreme Court ruling on West Virginia v. Barnettegives students the right to opt out of saying the Pledge. The website also provides resources for parents to discuss the Pledge with their children, as well as a way for students to report harassment or bullying they might have experienced for exercising their right to remain seated during the Pledge.
“We want everyone to know that the current wording of the Pledge discriminates against atheists and others who are good without a god, and we want them to stand up for fairness by sitting down until the Pledge is restored to its original, unifying form,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association.
“Through the daily Pledge exercise, our public schools are defining patriotism by promoting god-belief while stigmatizing atheist and humanist children,” said David Niose, legal director of the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center. “This violates the principles of equal rights and nondiscrimination, which is why we are currently challenging ‘under God’ in the Pledge with a lawsuit in New Jersey.”
This campaign was launched in response to a study by The Seidewitz Group, jointly commissioned by the American Humanist Association and the Stiefel Freethought Foundation, which found that 34 percent of Americans supported removing the phrase “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance after learning that the phrase was not part of the original Pledge wording. A copy of the study can be found here.
More information about the campaign can be found at DontSaythePledge.com.