Every morning at Sabold Elementary School in Springfield, Pennsylvania, after the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, someone would say “God Bless America.” However, now, after the Freedom From Religion Foundation filed a complaint, the recitation of such was banned.
The complaint filed by the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) was allegedly filed on behalf of a disgruntled parent.
The FFRF claims that the basis of the phrase “God Bless America” violates the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution.
“The repeated recitation of a religious message in the school setting violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, which prohibits public schools from advancing, supporting, or promoting religion,” FFRF representative Christopher Line wrote in a letter to the school district.
Within the complaint, the FFRF stated that; “When a public school regularly proclaims, ‘God bless America,’ it sends a message to its students that the school is endorsing and compelling belief in God.”
The school immediately caved to the complaint and capitulated to the demands of the FFRF. “Sabold Elementary School has ceased its practice of announcing the slogan, ‘God bless America’ over the loudspeaker immediately following the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance,” school district attorney Mark Sereni wrote in a letter to the FFRF.
“None of the schools in the School District currently engages in this practice.”
“We’re gratified that Springfield officials listened to us so clearly,” FFRF co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor said in a statement on the organization’s website. “Young elementary school children don’t need to be coerced into affirming God’s name every morning.”
“It’s hard to know which is more disturbing: that activists would claim saying ‘God Bless America’ violates the First Amendment or school officials that surrender to this kind of bullying,” First Liberty Institute attorney Jeremy Dys told Starnes Country.
“Phrases like ‘God Bless America’ and ‘In God We Trust’ are as much a part of our history as ‘under God’ is a part of our Pledge of Allegiance–and the U.S. Constitution protects their use, on or off school property,” he said, “What’s next? Will the Springfield School District fire teachers who say ‘God bless you’ to students who sneeze?!”
The FFRF, an aggressive organization, made up of mainly atheists, has filed several complaints against various public institutions for similar practices. Nearly every time a school or police organization has caved to their demands because the institution fears a drawn-out lawsuit.