December 31st, 2008 21:00 EST
Atheists Seek To Kick God Out Of Obama's Swearing-In
" A group of atheists is suing to bar prayers and references to God during the swearing-in ceremony of U.S. President-elect Barack Obama.
Michael Newdow, along with 17 other individuals and 10 groups representing atheists, named Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., officials in charge of inaugural festivities, the Rev. Joseph E. Lowery and pastor Rick Warren in their complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Washington Tuesday, The Washington Post (NYSE:WPO) reported Wednesday.
Roberts will administer the oath of office to Obama at the Jan. 20 event. Warren and Lowery are scheduled to deliver the invocation and benediction, respectively."
In the first presidential inauguration of the new millennium we must discard the notion that we are a "Christian" nation, and we must do away with exclusionary language that ostracizes atheists and religious minorities.
President-elect Barack Obama missed his opportunity to enact real change, by clinging to the tradition of having ministers participate in his inauguration. The right-leaning Rev. Rick Warren and the left-leaning Rev. Joseph E. Lowery may seem to have little in common, but they both represent the Protestant faith. This leaves out Catholics, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, atheists and members of hundreds of other faiths.
The perfect alternative to trying to please hundreds of faiths, is to banish religion from what should be a secular event. We are not inaugurating a national Bishop, but the president of a secular nation.
Chief Justice G. Roberts plans to add the phrase "so help me God" to the oath of office that Obama will repeat. At first glance the phrase sounds fairly innocuous, but upon further reflection it not only excludes atheists but anyone who doesn`t believe in a monotheistic deity. Not to mention that it`s a blatant violation of the sacred doctrine of the separation of church and state.
Obama will have an inauspicious start to his new administration, by infusing religion to his inauguration he is demonstrating that he is still a man of the 20th century. He should be a real agent of change, and have the first God-free inauguration in the history of the United States.
All of us, people of faith and skeptics and atheists, should hope and pray that Michael Newdow`s lawsuit will be successful. It will be a great day for our democracy when prayers and references to a deity are banished from the swearing-in-ceremony of the President of the United States