January 1, 2009

Atheists suing Warren, Roberts

Alright, this is a just taking the separation of church and state doctrine beyond the pale. An atheist groups is reportedly suing pastor Rick Warren and Chief Justice John Roberts for among other things inclusion of the phrase "So help me God" in the oath of office, according to the Washington Post

Michael A. Newdow, 17 other individuals and 10 groups representing atheists sued
Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., several officials in charge of inaugural festivities, the Rev.
Joseph E. Lowery and megachurch pastor Rick Warren. They filed the complaint in U.S. District Court.

"We're hoping to stop prayer and religious rituals at governmental functions, especially at the inauguration," Barker told FOX News Radio."The inauguration is not a religious event. It is a
secular event of a secular country that includes all Americans, including those of us who are not Christians, including those of us who are not believers," he continued.

Barker, who said government's not picking sides on the issue of religion is "hard wired into our Constitution," called the 29 members of the suit all atheists and agnostics who love their country and participating in the inauguration.

"Yet we are subjected to someone else's religious views with the endorsement of the government, which makes us feel like second class outsiders," he said.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is the same group that wanted the phrase "under God" removed from the Pledge of Allegiance, and worked to have atheist displays next to holiday displays in Washington state. Their argument in this case?

Barker argued that by allowing religious phrases to be used in the ceremony as well as inviting Revs. Rick Warren and Joe Lowery, who are named as defendants in the suit, to participate in the inaugural festivities, the government is picking a winner in the dispute over religion and

Was anyone aware that this was a 'dispute'? Whatever happened to respecting each other's beliefs (or non-beliefs)? I thought that's what they were supposedly after. Apparently not. Apparently they are a militant special interest group bent on removing God from society, starting with the government. How long before they start wanting to remove "In God We Trust" from the currency?

Now respecting each others' beliefs is probably the pinnacle of their argument. Given that God is only referenced in the Constitution once in respect to the date ('in the year of our Lord'), why is it so prevalent in some areas of government (like the oath of office), and isn't unfair that it should be that way? The fact of the matter is that the United States was founded as a Christian nation, by Christians. Opponents of this view will often site the Treaty of Tripoli , Article 11 as proof that this is not the case.

Although the Treaty of Tripoli under agreement only lasted a few years and
no longer has legal status, it clearly represented the feelings of our Founding
Fathers at the beginning of the American government.

The problem with that argument is that it is signed by John Adams, who clearly felt that Christianity played an important part in the founding principles of the United States. Besides, basing your argument on an obscure short term treaty, that 'no longer has legal status' makes a pretty weak case compared to the religious affiliation of the Founding Fathers. There is a clear difference between between having a separation of church and state and advocating a theocracy. The latter is what the separation intends, not the former. There is also a big difference between the government having a separation of church and state and being openly hostile to religion.

If President-elect Obama is a religious man and wants there to be a religious component to his inauguration, that is a personal choice and infringing upon that would seem to be a violation of his first amendment rights.

Sure atheist groups and gay rights activists have every right to be unhappy with his decision to include pastor Rick Warren in the ceremony. But they have no right trying to ban him, and to try to change the oath of office wording thereby infringing on the rights of the President-elect. If the President-elect had chosen to have an entirely secular inauguration ceremony, many Christians would be angry and indignant too. But they would not have taken up a legal challenge against the ceremony. To do so would be (and is) petulant and unbecoming. What they would do is if they were incensed enough is work harder to ensure he does not get re-elected. That's how a democracy works - your currency is your vote. Use it. Attempt to sway others with sensible discourse. DO NOT try to use the courts to impose your view of fairness on everyone else. The courts are their to interpret the laws of the land in light of the Constitution, they are not there to govern. Take that liberal playbook somewhere else, because the method of your efforts are the grossest distortion of American democracy, not the inclusion or exclusion of God and the marginalizing of atheists. Atheists are a marginal portion of the population already, deal with it.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you! Our society loves to sue, or so it seems. And in the last several decades we also seem to love to claim Constitutional rights that are simply not in the Constitution. We often do so while quoting President Jefferson (usually with the words "separation of church and state").

    Jefferson himself believed that our rights are granted not by man or government, but by God. Aside from his words in the Declaration of Independence ("endowed by their creator...") he also said:

    "The evidence of [the] natural right [of expatriation], like that of our right to life, liberty, the use of our faculties, the pursuit of happiness, is not left to the feeble and sophistical investigations of reason, but is impressed on the sense of every man. We do not claim these under the charters of kings or legislators, but under the King of Kings."

    Much more can be found here:


Disagreement is always welcome. Please remain civil. Vulgar or disrespectful comments towards anyone will be removed.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Share This