On December 29, 2008, Constitutional activist Mike Newdow, along with the American Humanist Association and 39 other individuals and organizations, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, challenging two monotheistic religious practices planned for Barack Obama's inauguration.
The first concerns the presidential oath of office, which is prescribed in the Constitution's Article II. With no authorization whatsoever, Chief Justices have taken to adding the purely religious phrase, "so help me God" when administering that oath. This practice is being challenged.
Additionally, since 1937, chaplains have been brought in to the inaugural ceremony to give prayers to Jesus and to God. Because such prayers are prohibited under the Establishment Clause, this, too, is being challenged.
You can view Mike's original complaint HERE. (131KB pdf download)
Not unexpectedly, a preliminary injunction was denied. The case will now continue in the District Court, after which an appeal will be made to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. If the judges there adhere to the constitutional ideal of religious equality for all, a victory is assured!
WHY MIKE NEEDS YOUR HELP RIGHT NOW...
In the 1984 U.S. Supreme Court case where a "creche scene" depicting the birth of the baby Jesus was at issue, Justice Sandra Day O'connor wrote, "It is significant in this regard that the creche display apparently caused no political divisiveness prior to the filing of this lawsuit, although Pawtucket had incorporated the creche in its annual Christmas display for some years."
Justice O'Connor used that logic again in the Elk Grove (Pledge of Allegiance) case, writing, "in the 50 years that the Pledge has been recited as it is now, by millions of children, this was, at the time of its filing, only the third reported case of which I am aware to challenge it as an impermissible establishment of religion."
Justice Breyer, also, expressed this sentiment in 2005 in the Texas Ten Commandments case: "As far as I can tell, 40 years passed in which the presence of this monument, legally speaking, went unchallenged (until the single legal objection raised by petitioner)."
This argument - that the fact that members of a disenfranchised minority don't spend years of their lives (and hundreds of thousands of dollars) to fight what seems to be a futile battle can be interpreted as meaning that most don't care - is completely specious. How many Black Americans challenged the laws requiring them to sit in the back of the bus?
Thus, to demonstrate that there is a lot of support for ending the offensive, exclusionary references to God at the inauguration, we want 1,000 people to sign up as plaintiffs. Will you help?
NOW...Click HERE to learn HOW you can help!