Published On: Thu, Jan 7th, 2016

No more ‘God Bless America’ as a New Jersey school caves to ACLU threats

A New Jersey school has decided to stop its tradition of saying “God bless America” after the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) called the practice unconstitutional and threatened legal action.
The Glenview Elementary School in Haddon Heights, New Jersey began a tradition of gathering students on the playground to recite the Pledge of Allegiance after the September 11 terrorist attacks. At the end of the recitation, the teachers led the students in saying, “God bless America.”
Glenview principal Sam Sassano said the recitation was completely voluntary, and if a student chose not to participate, he or she was allowed to stand by quietly.
photo Beverly & Pack

photo Beverly & Pack

The ACLU claims that encouraging students to say “God bless America” violates the Establishment Clause.

“The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the government from not only favoring one religion over another, but also from promoting religion over non-religion,” wrote ACLU-NJ director Ed Barocas in a letter to the school district’s attorney. “The greatest care must be taken to avoid the appearance of governmental endorsement in schools, especially elementary schools, given the impressionable age of the children under the school’s care and authority.”
Sassano regrets that the students will no longer be able to keep their patriotic tradition, but says the school made the decision in order to avoid a costly lawsuit.
“It wasn’t taught with any intention of having any type of religious overtones,” the principal said to Fox’s Todd Starnes. “It was taught to show patriotism.”
“Budgets across the state of New Jersey are very tight,” the principal said. “We have to be very cautious how we spend taxpayer funds. The amount of legal fees to fight something like this in court could really break a budget.”

“I’m very, very upset about this,” said Debi Krezel, the parent of a sixth-grader, quoted in the article. “Being a daughter, a sister, niece and cousin of veterans and first responders – (as well as) an American and a taxpayer – why are my rights and my child’s rights being taken away?”

Mrs. Krezel had nothing but praise for Principal Sassano and she said she understands why the district had to do what it did – but that still doesn’t make it right.

“I don’t think it’s fair to us or our children,” she told me. “What are they going to take from us next? We are slowly chipping away the values and beliefs and traditions that (the nation) was created upon.”

Check out the full coverage by Starnes – click here

photo donkeyhotey donkeyhotey.wordpress.com

photo donkeyhotey donkeyhotey.wordpress.com

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About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at theglobaldispatch@gmail ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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