In November, Western Journalism reported on a 17-year-old high school senior, Samantha Jones (pictured, far right), who was taking on the American Humanist Association as they attempted to have the phrase “under God” removed from the Pledge of Allegiance.
At the time, she said the phrase was so important to her because “A lot of different people with a lot of different beliefs call this country home. So I think that everyone’s beliefs are protected by this right, including atheists’. Because it does acknowledge that our rights don’t come from the government, but from a higher power. So they can’t take away the basic human rights it did not create.”
In February, the New Jersey teen, along with The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which was representing her, claimed a great victory when a judge threw out the AHA’s lawsuit, which argued that “under God” violated the state’s constitution and discriminated against those who do not believe in God.
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Today, Jones has another reason to celebrate — almost a year after the original filing, the AHA has “thrown in the towel” and decided not to appeal the case. A press release from the Becket Fund says this is their fifth victory in a row defending the words “one nation under God.”
In a post on Fox News after the ruling in February, Jones wrote about why she decided to take a stand for the Pledge. The precocious teen said she is “proud to live in a country that is so respectful of everyone’s beliefs. We are a diverse country and we celebrate that diversity in many ways. However, the same laws that protect the atheists’ world view (sic), protect mine. I will not let them silence me.” She also said it is “empowering to know that, no matter what happens, I have some rights the government can never take away.”
Jones plans to continue to work with the attorneys at the Becket Fund to “make sure school children across New Jersey are free to say the Pledge of Allegiance in full.”
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