Atheist Group Files Lawsuit


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Atheist Group Files Lawsuit Against Prayer at Presidential Inauguration
The head of an atheist group told FOX News Radio on Tuesday that by allowing a prayer at President-elect Obama's inauguration, the government is subjecting atheists and agonostics to someone else's religious beliefs.
By Mike Majchrowitz

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

powered by BaynoteThe head of an atheist group that has filed a lawsuit against prayer at Barack Obama's presidential inauguration says the government is picking a winner between "believers" and "those who don't believe" and subjecting atheists and agnostics to someone else's religious beliefs.

Dan Barker, co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, has joined with Michael Newdow, who fought to have the words "under God" removed from the Pledge of Allegiance, in a federal lawsuit seeking to enjoin the Presidential Inaugural Committee from sponsoring prayers at the official inauguration.

The 34-page legal complaint similarly seeks to enjoin Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, Jr., from adding the phrase "So help me God" to the presidential oath of office.

"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 fought to have atheist displays next to holiday displays, most notably in Washington state this year.

He said if Obama wants to hold a private religious ceremony, that would be more appropriate than having religious figures up on stage at his swearing in ceremony.

Peter Sprigg, vice president for policy at the Family Research Council, said it's Obama's decision whether to include a prayer, not the government's.

"The atheists, while they have every right to practice their atheism, they do not have an absolute right not to be exposed to viewpoints they don't agree with. So I think this lawsuit has no merit whatsoever," Sprigg said.

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 atheism.

"Those people who do pray do believe in God and they are in fact trying to use the government to pick sides. In America we are free to disagree. We can disagree with Rev. Rick Warren but we're not free to ask our government to settle the argument," Barker said, adding that government causes harm when it takes on "the mantel of religion and expresses religion as an official governmental function."

Sprigg said he thinks the case has no merit and, like previous attempts to block inaugural prayer, this too will fail.

"These atheists who are suing to prevent prayer at the inauguration are showing a fundamental misunderstanding of what the First Amendment is all about. The establishment of religion that is forbidden by the First Amendment means the official declaration of an official national church. It doesn't mean that public ceremonies can not include prayers or acknowledgement of the existence of God," he told FOX News Radio.

Asked if prayer is excluded, wouldn't that mean government is choosing atheists as the winner, Barker replied, "There is a difference between neutrality and hostility.

"If the government were to invite me as a national atheist leader to get up and give an invocation that curses the name of God and that encourages people to stop believing and stop being so childish and divisive then that would be wrong because the government would be taking a pro-atheist position," he said.

Sprigg said he doubts that Roberts being named in the suit will affect the outcome or that Roberts would have to recuse himself if the case came before the high court .

"That's intriguing but I don't

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I'd love to see this big cloud drift over their HQ, a big hand come out, and squish them all like the insects that they are.

I don't agree with atheists, but they are free to not believe in God, and I'll respect them. But if Obama wants prayer, they can just sit there and shut their pie-holes. Tough sh*t! They don't want religion shoved down their throats, and I don't want atheism shoved down mine. So live with it!
We don't force them to join in the prayer so why should they be allowed to force us not to pray? This needs to be stopped somehow or someday it will become a crime to say anything religious in public. There is way to much political correctness in this country today.
If this were to actually be taken up by SCOTUS (it won't), it would make for some very strange bedfellows.
if this toehead wants a country free of any religion then he should look at the successful countries that have tried it that way in the past,like nazi germany or maybe communist russia, those worked out pretty well. the usa has always acknowledged GOD and that why we have been so strong for so long. he needs to be thankful for that GOG GIVEN freedom to speak his mind. cause he would not be able to in a country like he is trying to change into.
I go to a movie (typical Hollywood crap) and a few minutes into this film, one of the characters says, "I hate those God-believing morons. I think they all ought to be killed off." So I listen a little longer, and another character says, "You M*****F***ing bastards are all gonna die!" Later: "I love sex with kids and animals."

So now I go and contact the studio that produced this abortion and I say, "I'm suing you, every actor in your movie, the city of LA and the state of California. You have offended me with this filth, and I do not believe that you should be allowed to show this on a movie screen where myself and others might be offended."

Why should I have to watch this? Oh, I DON'T have to watch it? Why can't I stop it? Oh, because other people might actually like atheists, murderers, foul language and child molesters. I believe that the ACLU has actually represented NAMBLA (North American Man Boy Love Association). Good lord, why? Because even child molesters have rights.

If you don't believe in God, that's okay - He believes in you. If you don't like the name of Jesus Christ uttered in public, that's tough! I don't like atheism uttered in public, either. But I won't sue in court to have your mouth sewn shut. When we Christians try to make laws that mandate EVERYONE must go to a Christian church at least once a week, or get fined; when we try to make a law that says if you do not pray with others in public, you will be whipped; if we try to make a law that says only Christianity will be allowed in the U.S. and that any other belief, including athesim will be prosecuted;

THEN come and complain, and someone might even agree with you. Until that happens, put it where the sun don't shine!
I've always believed that if they don't like overtly Christian displays or prayers, they should not participate! Nobody told them they have to participate! The same goes for nativity scenes at city halls and so forth; if the displays offend them, don't look at them!

Finally, prayer is speech, and last time I checked, the Constitution doesn't say that certain types of speech enjoy less protection than others. Suppressing prayer is to suppress free speech, and is therefore unconstitutional.

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