"Public schools should not engage in an exercise that tells students that patriotism is tied to a belief in God," declared David Niose, attorney for the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center, in a statement released by the group. "Such a daily exercise portrays atheist and humanist children as second-class citizens, and certainly contributes to anti-atheist prejudices."
"It’s a different approach," Niose, who also represents the Massachusetts plaintiffs, told The Christian Science Monitor. "We have constitutional protections demanding equality. The state statute that requires daily recitation — sponsored by school, led by teacher — of the Pledge of Allegiance, obviously discriminates against atheist and humanist children. On a daily basis, you’re having patriotism defined and having children indoctrinated in a way that exalts one religious group and marginalizes atheists and humanists."