‘God Bless America’ Dropped from Pennsylvania Primary School after Complaint
Normally after the Pledge of Allegiance is recited the words “God bless America” are said. However, a Pennsylvania school will no longer say that after leading students in the pledge. The line was dropped due to a parent's complaint.
Principal Peter Brigg would normally recite the Pledge of Allegiance to his students at the Sabold Elementary School in Springfield. At the end of the recital, he would state “God bless America” and students would mimic him.
A Pennsylvania school will drop "God bless America" from morning announcements after FFRF pointed out it is both unnecessarily exclusionary and unconstitutional.https://t.co/9eBEGOvagM— FFRF (@FFRF) May 9, 2019
However, one parent complained to the Freedom From Religion Foundation about the practice. The organization’s attorney then contacted the district about the matter.
The group claimed the last line violated the US Constitution’s prohibition of government sponsoring religious messages. They said: “‘God Bless America’ is a prayer … A Prayer hosted by a publicly supported school does not pass constitutional muster.”
On Friday, the district released a statement confirming the receipt of the complaint claiming that reciting the words “God Bless America” over the loudspeaker “violated the law.” The district decided it would stop the practice with immediate effect.
Their statement read:
“In accordance with District protocol, this complaint was forwarded to our District Solicitor's Office. Based upon the Solicitor's legal research and recommendation, we ceased this practice. Continuation of any practices that may be unlawful would only expose the District to litigation, which the local taxpayers would have to financially support.”
SOUND OFF: Should schools be required to say 'God bless America'? https://t.co/7XCY9IufZq— ABC 13 News - WSET (@ABC13News) May 8, 2019
However, they made it clear that the administration never altered the recitation of the pledge and that students would still be able to say “God Bless America” if they choose to.
The statement further said: “We understand that this is an important topic for many of our constituents; however, please understand that the District does not make the law. We follow it.”
A Pennsylvania school drops the practice of saying “God bless America” after the Pledge of Allegiance.— Family Research Council (@FRCdc) May 9, 2019
"The FFRF praised the school’s decision, but lamented the fact that God is also referenced in the pledge." @DailyCaller https://t.co/eco9BJqFCX
The foundation stated that “young elementary school children don’t need to be coerced into affirming God’s name every morning.” The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a group that consists of atheists, agnostics, and freethinkers.
A Fox News opinion piece by Todd Starnes saw this move as “a classic example of how leftists are attempting to eradicate American values and traditions.” He revealed that he wrote, “about this dangerous movement in my new book.”
The book is called, "Culture Jihad: How to Stop the Left From Killing a Nation."