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  1. #1
    Senior Member cvangel's Avatar
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    Nov 2006

    Lawsuit seeks to take 'so help me God' out of inaugural

    Lawsuit seeks to take 'so help me God' out of inauguralStory Highlights
    Atheists want references to religion removed from inaugural ceremony

    Groups object to "so help me God" at end of oath, benediction by pastor

    "I have no doubt I'll lose," says California lawyer who filed lawsuit

    By Carol Cratty

    WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A number of atheists and non-religious organizations want Barack Obama's inauguration ceremony to leave out all references to God and religion.

    President-elect Barack Obama will use the Bible Abraham Lincoln used for his inauguration.

    In a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Washington, the plaintiffs demand that the words "so help me God" not be added to the end of the president's oath of office.

    In addition, the lawsuit objects to plans for ministers to deliver an invocation and a benediction in which they may discuss God and religion.

    An advance copy of the lawsuit was posted online by Michael Newdow, a California doctor and lawyer who has filed similar and unsuccessful suits over inauguration ceremonies in 2001 and 2005.

    Joining Newdow in the suit are groups advocating religious freedom or atheism, including the American Humanist Association, the Freedom from Religion Foundation and atheist groups from Minnesota; Seattle, Washington; and Florida.

    The new lawsuit says in part, "There can be no purpose for placing 'so help me God' in an oath or sponsoring prayers to God, other than promoting the particular point of view that God exists."

    Newdow said references to God during inauguration ceremonies violate the Constitution's ban on the establishment of religion.

    Newdow and other plaintiffs say they want to watch the inaugural either in person or on television. As atheists, they contend, having to watch a ceremony with religious components will make them feel excluded and stigmatized.

    "Plaintiffs are placed in the untenable position of having to choose between not watching the presidential inauguration or being forced to countenance endorsements of purely religious notions that they expressly deny," according to the lawsuit.

    Among those named in the lawsuit are Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts, who is expected to swear in the new president; the Presidential Inauguration Committee; the Joint Congressional Committee on Inauguration Ceremonies and its chairwoman, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California; and the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee and its commander, Maj. Gen. Richard Rowe Jr.

    The two ministers scheduled to participate in the ceremony also are named: the Rev. Rick Warren and the Rev. Joseph Lowery. The document includes a quotation from Warren on atheists: "I could not vote for an atheist because an atheist says, 'I don't need God.' "

    Newdow told CNN that he didn't name President-elect Barack Obama in the suit because in addition to participating as a government official at the ceremony, he possesses rights as an individual that allow him to express religious beliefs.

    "If he chooses to ask for God's help, I'm not going to challenge him," Newdow said. "I think it's unwise."

    Newdow said that as a member of a racial minority, Obama should have respect for atheists, who also are members of a minority.

    Newdow said religious references in the inauguration ceremony send a message to non-believers.

    "The message here is, we who believe in God are the righteous, the real Americans," he said.

    Newdow said it's unconstitutional to imply that atheists and others are not as good.

    He acknowledged that his suit is unlikely to be successful.

    "I have no doubt I'll lose," he said, adding that he hoped to eventually succeed through appeals and hoped future inauguration ceremonies would exclude religious references ... index.html

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Nov 2006
    TEXAS - The Lone Star State
    this insane jerk should have to pay for all the fees instead of making the american taxpayer pay another court for another useless lawsuit

  3. #3
    Senior Member chloe24's Avatar
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    May 2006
    "The message here is, we who believe in God are the righteous, the real Americans," he said.

    Newdow said it's unconstitutional to imply that atheists and others are not as good.

    First of all, I've heard free speech being protected under the Constitution but not things that are"implied." Unless you're a mind reader, who can know what people are actually thinking/feeling??

    Nudow sounds like he's feeling guilty for being an Atheist! If he feels so left out he should just come and join the majority of Americans who do believe in God. What arrogance!

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    Jun 2006
    On the border
    There are three things in this world that we talk about all the time that do not exist. Cold, darkness and evil. We use these terms to describe the bad guys all the time. But cold is not the opposite of heat because you cannot make cold you can only remove heat, the same with darkness, you can turn off a light but you didn't make dark and you cannot make evil, you can only remove God and when you remove Him you have cold, dark and evil.
    Does this mean that people who do not belive in God are evil? Not nesessarly but the odds are much greater that they may become so.
    It also doen't mean that all who claim to trust in God actually do either but I feel better when they do because if they lie before God they're in for it big time.
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  5. #5
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    May 2006
    Judge tosses challenge to 'under God'
    California attorney loses another round in war over Pledge of Allegiance
    Posted: October 02, 2009
    11:30 pm Eastern

    By Bob Unruh
    © 2009 WorldNetDaily

    A federal court in New Hampshire has tossed a lawsuit against school districts in that state alleging that they improperly coerced children to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, a decision that the American Center for Law and Justice, which represented members of Congress in an amicus brief, praised.

    "We’re extremely pleased with the sound and well reasoned decision issued by the court – a decision that rejects another attempt to rewrite history by targeting the Pledge and the phrase 'under God,'" said Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the ACLJ, yesterday.

    "The court reached the only decision that it could – the lawsuit was dismissed and the court concluded that the New Hampshire statute giving students an opportunity to voluntarily recite the Pledge in school is constitutional and consistent with the First Amendment. We're pleased the court’s decision underscores the arguments made in our amicus brief: the Pledge is a time-honored exercise
    that embraces patriotism, not religion."

    The ruling from U.S. District Judge Steven McAuliffe applied several different Establishment Clause tests and held that the school districts had not violated federal standards.

    The case was launched in 2007 by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, represented by California lawyer Michael Newdow, who has brought a multitude of lawsuits over the Pledge of Allegiance over the years.

    In fact, Newdow at one point sued WorldNetDaily in a related dispute. The news service quickly was dropped from the case, which Newdow ultimately also lost.

    According to the Thomas More Law Center, a court dismissed Newdow's defamation complaint against Rev. Austin Miles, the action in which Newdow Also originally targeted WND. The judge concluded in a 2008 ruling Newdow was not defamed and was not entitled to damages. The dismissal was with prejudice, meaning the claim cannot be refiled, the legal advocacy group said.

    The law center said the claim was based on an article Miles wrote asserting Newdow had lied to the court in the Pledge of Allegiance case by claiming his daughter was forced to recite the words "under God" at her school.

    Miles' commentary noted Newdow's daughter actually is a Christian who willingly said the Pledge.

    Newdow initially was awarded, in June 2004, a default judgment against Miles for $1 million, but the law center said Miles hadn't been notified of the complaint. He contacted the Thomas More Law Center after learning about the award, and lawyers persuaded the court to set aside the judgment and allow the case to proceed to trial

    The case previously involved WND, the Internet's leading independent news site. But shortly after naming WND as a defendant, Newdow agreed to drop the organization from the complaint. The case alleged WND published a quote from Newdow that his daughter "was forced to recite, caused her emotional damage, stress, anxiety and a sense of being left out."

    The lawsuit alleged the quote was never said by Newdow. But WND did not publish the quotation, and Newdow quickly agreed to dismiss WND as a defendant.

    Newdow attained national prominence by suing his then-8-year-old daughter's Sacramento school district, claiming that having public-school students recite the Pledge is a violation of the First Amendment's prohibition of "an establishment of religion."

    In March 2002, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled in his favor, prompting widespread national outrage. The U.S. Supreme Court later rejected his claim on a technicality, explaining that he didn't have standing to bring the action.

    According to published reports, Newdow's daughter and her mother at the time attended an evangelical Christian church and had no opposition to the Pledge of Allegiance.

    Newdow's claim in New Hampshire challenged the practice of reciting the Pledge in public schools as a patriotic exercise.

    But the court decision said the "New Hampshire Pledge statute has a secular legislative purpose. It was enacted to enhance instruction in the nation's history, and foster a sense of patriotism. Its primary effect neither advances nor inhibits religion. It does not foster excessive government involvement with religion."

    "The Constitution prohibits the government from establishing a religion, or coercing one to support or participate in religion, a religious exercise, or prayer. It does not mandate that government refrain from all civic, cultural, and historic references to a God. The line is often difficult to draw, of course, and in some senses the drawn line yet has some mobility," the court said.

    "When Congress added the words 'under God,' to the Pledge in 1954, its actual intent probably had far more to do with politics than religion — more to do with currying favor with the electorate than with an Almighty. (God, if God exists, is probably not so easily fooled.) In the intervening half century since the words were added, rote repetition has … removed any significant religious content embodied in the words, if there ever was significant religious (as opposed to political) content embodied in those words. Today, the words remain religious words, but plainly fall comfortably within the category of historic artifacts — reflecting a benign or ceremonial civic deism that presents no threat to the fundamental values protected by the Establishment Clause."
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