For fifteen years now, students at Glenview Elementary School in Haddon Heights, NJ have recited the phrase “God bless America” every morning. Indeed, they’ve been doing this ever since September 11, 2001 after reciting the Pledge of Allegiance–but no longer.
The ACLU of New Jersey has seen to that. Its position is that saying those three words violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment because it “promotes religious over non-religious beliefs.”
Said its legal director Ed Barocas, “Schools can’t impose religion on children. Parents, not government, have the right to direct the religious upbringing of their children.”
In response, Principal Sam Sassano, in a letter to parents, guardians, and staffers, said, “… It has been our view that the practice is fundamentally patriotic in nature and does not invoke or advance any religious message despite the specific reference to God’s blessing. We are also mindful of the history of the phrase and song, “God Bless America,” and its general usage in our daily vernacular.”
But who can afford to fight the ACLU? Certainly not Glenview Elementary, so God loses and so do we all.