When the American Humanist Association tried to have the words “one nation under God” removed from the Pledge of Allegiance in New Jersey schools, one high school senior decided to fight them. And she won.

The AHA had tried a similar case before in Massachusetts and lost. They moved their efforts to New Jersey, and for the second time, they were defeated.

Samantha Jones, a senior at Highland Regional High School, and her family were represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. On February 6, a state judge dismissed the case. Samantha gave this statement following the news of their victory:

I’m so grateful the court decided that kids like me shouldn’t be silenced just because some people object to timeless American values. Ever since I was little, I’ve recited the Pledge of Allegiance because it sums up the values that make our country great. The phrase ‘under God’ protects all Americans—including atheists—because it reminds the government that it can’t take away basic human rights because it didn’t create them.

Even a high school student realizes the value of these basic rights.

The Becket Fund has defended the Pledge – successfully – four other times. Multiple courts continue to affirm that “the Pledge is a voluntary patriotic exercise that teaches American history and civics, and that no schoolchild is required to recite the Pledge against his or her conscience.” Eric Rassbach, Deputy General Counsel for the Becket Fund, said:

The message today is loud and clear: “God” is not a dirty word. The Pledge of Allegiance isn’t a prayer, and reciting it doesn’t magically create an official state religion. The Pledge—in the tradition of Washington’s Farewell Address or Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address—is not a prayer to God, but a statement about who we are as a nation. Dissenters have every right to sit out the Pledge, but they can’t silence everyone else.

Age and situation don’t matter – every American citizen can defend religious liberty and freedom of speech. If a high school student could stand up, the rest of us have no excuse!

About The Author

Mark Meckler

Mark was a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, and served as the national coordinator. He left the organization to work more broadly on expanding the self-governance movement beyond the partisan divide. Mark appears regularly on television in outlets as diverse as MSNBC, ABC, NBC, Fox News, CNN, Bloomberg, Fox Business and the BBC. He’s highly sought after for the tea party perspective from print and electronic media outlets, from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, L.A. Times, Washington Examiner, Politico and the The Hill. Mark blogs at MarkMeckler.com, and his opinion editorials regularly run in many of the leading political newspapers both on and offline. Mark has a BA in English from San Diego State University and graduated with honors from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1988. He practiced real estate and business law for almost a decade. For the last eleven years of his legal career he specialized in Internet advertising law. When not fighting for the future of our nation, Mark is an avid horseman, and lives in rural northern California with his wife Patty and two children.