December 05, 2007

Can lawsuit-crazed atheist help GOP win big?

If I didn't know better, I'd swear this guy was working for the Republicans.

An atheist pleaded with a federal appeals court to remove the words "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance and "In God We Trust" from U.S. currency, saying the references disrespect his religious beliefs.

"I want to be treated equally," said Michael Newdow, who argued the cases consecutively to a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday. He added that supporters of the phrases "want to have their religious views espoused by the government."

Newdow, a Sacramento doctor and lawyer, sued his daughter's school district in 2000 for forcing public school children to recite the pledge, saying it was unconstitutional.

The 9th Circuit ruled in Newdow's favor in 2002, but two years later, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that he lacked standing to sue because he didn't have custody of the daughter on whose behalf he brought the case. He immediately filed a second lawsuit on behalf of three unidentified parents and their children in another district.

In 2005, a federal judge in Sacramento again found in favor of Newdow, ruling the pledge was unconstitutional. The judge said he was following the precedent set by the 9th Circuit's ruling in Newdow's first case.


Congress added the words "under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954, and passed a law requiring all U.S. currency to carry the motto "In God We Trust" a year later. Congress first authorized a reference to God on money in 1864.

In describing the historical context for use of the word "God," the government cited the Declaration of Independence, which states that all men "are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights."

In 2005, Newdow sued Congress and several federal officials, arguing the motto's presence on coins and currency violated his First Amendment rights. A federal judge in Sacramento ruled against him last year, and Newdow appealed.

On Tuesday, Justice Department lawyer Lowell Sturgill Jr. said "In God We Trust" is not an endorsement of a particular faith, but simply a patriotic or ceremonial message.

Judge Stephen Reinhardt indicated support for Newdow's position.

The "In God We Trust" motto "affects Mr. Newdow every moment of his life," Reinhardt said. "The government has no compelling interest to put a slogan on a dollar bill."

I had thought that Newdow had achieved the rare distinction of being the biggest jerk in the United States, but Judge Stephen Ripston Reinhardt gives him a run for the money. The only thing worse than this self-absorbed radical atheist is the black-robed poltroon who validates his foolishness -- and in the process seems poised to inflict this stupidity on the rest of us.

In God We Trust "affects Mr. Newdow every moment of his life"?


If Reinhardt believes that, then there's a good chance that he's actually -- what do they call it now? -- mentally challenged.

As to Newdow himself, his renewed attack on the Pledge of Allegiance and the motto on our money seems guaranteed to help the GOP in the upcoming presidential race.

After all, angry atheists represent a tiny fraction of American voters. The rest of us actually resent attempts to purge all elements of religion from our national heritage and traditions.

For instance, there's that troublesome second paragraph from President George Washington's first inaugural address.

Such being the impressions under which I have, in obedience to the public summons, repaired to the present station; it would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official Act, my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the Universe, who presides in the Councils of Nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that his benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the People of the United States, a Government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes: and may enable every instrument employed in its administration to execute with success, the functions allotted to his charge. In tendering this homage to the Great Author of every public and private good I assure myself that it expresses your sentiments not less than my own; nor those of my fellow-citizens at large, less than either. No People can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the Affairs of men more than the People of the United States. Every step, by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency. And in the important revolution just accomplished in the system of their United Government, the tranquil deliberations and voluntary consent of so many distinct communities, from which the event has resulted, cannot be compared with the means by which most Governments have been established, without some return of pious gratitude along with an humble anticipation of the future blessings which the past seem to presage. These reflections, arising out of the present crisis, have forced themselves too strongly on my mind to be suppressed. You will join with me I trust in thinking, that there are none under the influence of which, the proceedings of a new and free Government can more auspiciously commence.

Who knew that the first president was a deist? Where was the outrage?

At the time the Establishment Clause was ratified, the delegates to the Constitutional Convention couldn't conceive of the day that the mere mention of "God" would be deemed a violation of the document they'd drafted.

It would take more than 200 years, the moral and intellectual damage done by the 1960s, and the lawyers and judges spawned by that terrible decade to twist, fold, spindle and mutilate the Constitution to the point where it means the polar opposite of what the Founders intended.

And so we seem on the verge of another act of judicial arrogance wherein elitist judges ram controversial and unpopular societal changes down the collective throats of citizens not creeped out by religion, a move that will also serve to help Republican candidates, reminding voters of the importance of who picks lifetime-appointee federal judges -- guys like Reinhardt -- who will plague us for the foreseeable future, like an incurable disease.

So, while I'm predictably angered by the plaintiff and his presumptive ally on the federal bench, I can't help but be a little bit pleased that Newdow has succeeded in reinvigorating a controversy that will help the GOP over the next eleven months.

If only the GOP had a real conservative in the top three . . . .

Posted by Mike Lief at December 5, 2007 09:22 PM | TrackBack


So what's your point?

Maybe a change to ... "In Obama We Trust" ? ? ?

Give us a break ... and go find something useful to complain about; like the demise of America under Obama and the Demokrauts!

Posted by: Chuck at October 18, 2009 09:36 AM

Post a comment

Remember personal info?