1/15/09

Dan Barker and Michael Newdow’s School of Job Security

With Barak Obama’s inauguration fast approaching it seemed a good time to mention the lawsuits filed by Dan Barker and Michael Newdow.

To read/Or not to read


Dan Barker, of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, appears to spend his Decembers attempting to break the record for filing lawsuits. He has teamed up with Michael Newdow who is another contender for the record. You remember Michael Newdow, right? He is the atheist who claims that atheism is a religion?[1] He is also a minister of the Universal Life Church and so am I, by the way, I sent five bucks in the mail and got a certificate.



Never at a loss for bizarre turns of phrases, Dan Barker stated that prayer at Presidential inaugurations and having the president state “So help me God” (a phrase that has been in the presidential oath for at least 128 years) amounts to “picking a winner between believers and those who don’t believe.”[2]

He further stated, “We're challenging Inaugural Committee's right to invite religious Christian ministers in, by the way, which is a new practice. It was not done early in our history.” No, early in our history President Thomas Jefferson attended Christian God worshipping services in the Capitol Building.

He also stated, “That is un-American. It is unfair. It marginalizes. It makes those of us good Americans who don't believe in God second-class citizens. It's unfair.” Yet, what is his response? He wants to turn those of us good Americans who believe in God into second-class citizens. It's unfair.

Michael Newdow, who is up to three lawsuits on this issue alone, takes the same tactic,
“Interlarding those ceremonies with clergy who espouse sectarian religious dogma does not unite, but rather divides, our citizenry…Similarly, instead of instilling confidence in our governmental structure, it tears at the very foundation upon which that structure is built.”[3]

Being an adherent of a religious sect of atheism, Michel Newdow attempts to supplant clergy from the inauguration in order to preach the agospel of atheism. Yet, interlarding those ceremonies with nothing, Michael Newdow’s agospel does not unite, but rather divides, our citizenry. Similarly, by removing Christian references, instead of instilling confidence in our governmental structure, it tears at the very foundation upon which that structure is built.

Annie Laurie Gaylor employed her erudite ability to intellectually elucidate the issue at hand by stating, “We think we should win.”


She further demonstrated a trait which is, very sadly, typical of her ilk; a stunning lack of knowledge regarding the Bible’s contents, “The complaint points out that the Bible that is traditionally used in the inauguration, not only calls atheists fools, but says atheists as blasphemers should be put to death, Gaylor said.”
Firstly, in a way I cannot blame her since Christians are constantly and annoyingly quoting this to atheist. The verse “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 14 and 53) is contextually about people who turn away from God yes, but they are specifically Psalms about morality. Thus, there are atheist fools, Christian fools and miscellaneous fools. “There is no God” in reference to atheism was likely not even an issue in Israel, this was about behaving as if “there is no God” to whom one is accountable (one of atheism’s consoling delusions).

Annie Laurie Gaylor’s main misstatement is that “blasphemers should be put to death.” Note that she is speaking in the present tens. Yet, the Bible states no such thing when we read it literally which means taking it as it is intended which employs context; grammatical, historical, cultural, literary, genre, etc.
It is as if these sorts of atheists do not even understand something as basic, simple, and elementary as why Christian Bibles consist of, note the terminology and tenses here, the “Old” and the “New” testaments, or covenants. But what would Jews say who do not refer to old and new but only have the “old,” the Tanakh, or Torah? The would actually point out the obvious and be in agreement with Christianity at this point: strictly speaking, the Old Testament law was given to, agreed upon, and administered amongst a particular people, in a particular geographical locality, at a particular time—the ancient Israeli Jews who lived in a theocratic kingdom. The Rabbinic tradition and Christianity deal with such conflicts by resorting to scholarship and debate.


Annie Laurie Gaylor also stated, “There is good reason for those of us who are nonreligious to be offended by the Bible, by God being brought up at an official inauguration.” And again I retort thusly, “There would be good reason for those of us who are ‘religious’ to be offended if the Bible were removed, by atheism pushing God out of official inaugurations.”

Ultimately, this is, as is obvious already, an emotive issue, “Gaylor takes great joy in naming Rev. Warren in the lawsuit, knowing that he will be served.”

And again, “‘that is exclusionary to those of us who aren't Christian, to those of us who aren't religious,’ she said.” Yet, what they seek is exclusionary to those of us who are Christian, to those of us who are religious.

The lawsuit itself makes reference to those “who explicitly reject the purely religious claims that will be endorsed, i.e., (a) there exists a God, and (b) the United States government should pay homage to that God.”
Good point.
After all, who ever heard of a country which declared its independence whilst referencing our Creator and Nature’s God or that the government is being established for the very purpose of protecting the rights given us by our Creator?


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FYI: I posted an essay entitled, Bishop Gene Robinson, Rick Warren, Barak Obama and the Presidential Inauguration which combines the latest news with regards to the controversy surrounding the Barak Obama’s inauguration with some research I did on Bishop Gene Robinson when he first became a Bishop.

[1] During an interview with Bill O'Reily on the TV show “The Pulse” (7-12-02).
[2] FOX News, “So Help Me God”: Atheists Want Phrase Yanked From Presidential Oath of Office, December 31, 2008
[3] Samara Kalk Derby, Freedom From Religion Foundation sues over prayer at inauguration, December 30, 2008

6 comments:

  1. I'm not sure i follow your reasoning. You say that to remove all the god bothering would be atheism discriminating against christians and that christians would then have been unfairly forced out.

    This is nonsense.

    If the inauguration was changed so that instead of "In god we trust" Obama said "There is no god". Then you might have a point. You have erected a strawman to valiantly battle. How brave!

    How about if Obama said "In Allah we trust". Would you be ok with that? Or in "Yahweh we trust". How about to satisfy our pagan chums, "In Thor we trust".

    I'm sure you'll retort "But those are minority groups, america is a christian nation".

    No it isn't. It is a nation with majority christians living in it and a delcared secular government. Government is not supposed to favour one religion over another or over a lack of religion.

    If Obama were to say the Oath and not In god we trust, he would not be espousing an atheist message. He would simply be leaving god where he belongs, in the private sphere.

    The founding fathers recognised, wisely, that it is best for religion and best for government if the two are kept seperate.

    In god we trust should not be in presidential oaths, on your money or anywhere else run by the government. You can be a christian just as well without the government joining in as you can with.

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  2. Never at a loss for bizarre turns of phrases, Dan Barker stated that prayer at Presidential inaugurations and having the president state “So help me God” (a phrase that has been in the presidential oath for at least 128 years) amounts to “picking a winner between believers and those who don’t believe.”

    The presidential oath has not changed since it was written as part of the Constitution. Article 2, Section 1, Clause 8 reads:

    "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."

    Note the absence of "So help me God" in the presidential oath.

    Newdow's lawsuit does not aim to prevent President-elect Obama from uttering those words when he takes the oath, as every President since George Washington has done. It aims to prevent Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Roberts from adding that phrase to the end of the charge he will give to Obama.

    This is a profound and meaningful difference. Do you not understand the distinction?

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  3. Oli;
    Thanks for checking in.

    The strawmanship was meant to show that one need not claim to be omitted simply because one does not hold to the premise upon which the country is founded.

    America has a secular government in that it does not have a National Church.

    America, as stated in the post, is a country that is premised upon the idea that its government exists in order to protect the rights given to us by our “Creator,” who is “Nature’s God.”

    That a Christian would state “So help me God” as he is being taking the oath of office does not amount to a National Church nor is it the government officially endorsement or establishing a particular religion—which would be unconstitutional.

    Certainly, a Muslim president elect could state, “So help me Allah,” a pagan, “So help me Thor,” and an atheist whatever they want.
    Actually, since professor of philosophy Daniel Dennett argues that the atheist Joseph Stalin was a theist who believed in a God named Stalin perhaps an atheist could state, “So help me God.”

    Interstate;
    Thanks and yes, I get your point and appreciate the clarification.

    aDios,
    Mariano

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  4. Newdow's lawsuit does not aim to prevent President-elect Obama from uttering those words when he takes the oath, as every President since George Washington has done. It aims to prevent Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Roberts from adding that phrase to the end of the charge he will give to Obama.

    Roberts would have done better to have stuck with just the words as written. When Roberts added the extra-constitutional words, it really messed up the cadence and flow of the oath. I wouldn't be surprised if the verbal mis-step wasn't a result of Roberts brain struggling with the new awkward phrasing.

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  5. Why can't anybody spell 'Barack?'

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  6. Why can't anybody spell 'Barack?'

    I suspect because 'Barak' is closer to the phonetics. I see 'Barack' as either BAR-ack or as BA-rack. Perhaps, people with hearing better attuned to the word can hear the proper spelling.

    ReplyDelete