Friday, January 14, 2005

freedom of religion, or from it?

Michael Newdow is obsessed.

Newdow, who made headlines when he sued to have the phrase "under God" dropped from the Pledge of Allegiance, is now suing to prevent any mention of God, including a prayer, from the presidential inauguration. His argument is that such references to religion constitute an unlawful endorsement of religion and relegates atheists to second-class status.

My initial reaction is that this latest lawsuit is nuts. Our society is pluralistic and our government is nonsectarian. Does that mean that our elected officials have to be areligious as well now? I'm sure that George Bush's choice of ministers to speak at his inauguration differs from those Bill Clinton chose (or would choose, if he were being installed today).

Surely if Newdow were elected president and chose not to have members of the clergy pray during the inauguration, or dropped the phrase "so help me God" from his oath, that would be his prerogative. I'm not really sure I see the inhumanity or oppressiveness of Bush being able to invoke Deity during his inauguration. He's religious, and it's his a slap in the face to deny him his right to religious self-expression just because he's our president.

Not like anyone pays attention to the dang things anyway.

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