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Atheists Granted Hearing on Inauguration Prayer

Michael Newdow, a Sacramento man known for trying to get "under God" removed from recitations of the Pledge of Allegiance, has been granted a hearing on his motion for a preliminary injunction to stop President-elect Barack Obama from saying "so help me God" when he takes the oath of office on Jan. 20th.

Newdow and several other atheists will be in U.S. District Court Jan. 15. Collectively, they filed a lawsuit last week against inaugural organizers, U.S. Supreme Court Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and other participants in the swearing-in ceremony. The lawsuit aims to remove the religious reference from the oath and to prohibit the scheduled invocation and benediction.

In 2001 and 2005, Newdow filed similar lawsuits to bar references at the swearing-in ceremonies of President George W. Bush. He failed.

While he argues that "so help me God" is not in the oath as written in the Constitution and that such references discriminate against atheists, critics cite the Obama's right to religious freedom.

By Nikita R Stewart  |  January 5, 2009; 4:47 PM ET  | Category:  Swearing-in Ceremony
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These people really need to get a life.

Posted by: _virginian_ | January 6, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Thank God, we atheists finally have an advocate in Washington.

Posted by: CubsFan | January 6, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

If the Establishment Clause means anything, public officials cannot compel each other to swear religious oaths, and the government cannot sponsor religious invocations, no matter how "inclusive." If Obama wants to invoke gods or unicorns in his speech, he is permitted to do so by the First Amendment, but that would still be in bad taste. We've suffered enough under a knuckle-dragging theocracy for the past eight years.

Posted by: StephenD11 | January 6, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

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