You Can Join the Inauguration Lawsuit February 18, 2009

You Can Join the Inauguration Lawsuit

The last time you heard about atheist Michael Newdow‘s Inauguration lawsuit was when it was rejected by a judge days before Barack Obama took the oath of office.

That, however, was simply a preliminary injunction. A small setback. Not a big deal, really. The Inauguration issue hasn’t gone away.

It is likely this case could reach the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit within a couple years.

For the sake of convincing future judges that this is not some frivolous lawsuit of one dude, but rather the desires of many, many atheists, Newdow is trying to enlist your help.

If you’d like to join in on this lawsuit, now is the time to do it. Newdow would like 1000 Plaintiffs by this weekend.

In fact, he started a website to enlist your help. It’s called 1000 Plaintiffs for Newdow v. Roberts.

What is involved in enlisting?

It’s easy, it’s almost free (a postage stamp, and maybe a fax call), and there’s no obligation to make a court appearance if you do not wish to.

To become one of the 1000 plaintiffs in Newdow v. Roberts, we make it easy for you to submit a brief statement or “declaration”–less than a page–that includes information such as:

(1) Any national, state, or local atheist/humanist/freethought organizations of which you are a member, such as Freedom From Religion Foundation, American Humanist Association, Atheist Alliance Intl., American Atheists, Pennsylvania Nonbelievers, Dover Atheists ;-)…you get the idea.

(2) How you classify yourself (i.e., Atheist, Humanist, Agnostic, Atheist-Humanist, etc.)

(3) How many (and which) inaugurations you have seen/heard in the past (including watching on television, etc.) Use your best recollection.

(4) Whether or not you saw/heard the 2009 Obama inauguration. If so, under what circumstances (e.g. in person, on TV, radio, internet, etc.).

(5) If you saw/heard the inauguration, describe your response vis-a-vis the religious intrusion in the inauguration event. [ Please note that general statements about your feelings on church-state separation are not relevant here. We need specifics about what you felt as a result of what you saw and heard. Also, please avoid rants about political parties or politics in general. We are concerned with the inauguration event. ]

(6) If you didn’t see/hear the inauguration, explain why not.

(7) Best estimate of how many future inaugurations you plan to watch/hear (either in person or via TV/media)

(8) Also, if you have minor children who saw/heard the inauguration with you, or who you expect will see/hear the next inauguration, please put that in your declaration as well (including their CURRENT AGES, and any information about HOW you believe their viewing/hearing the “so help you, God?”, “so help me God”, and clergy-led prayer will/could/did harm or adversely affect them).

(9) Penalty of perjury statement

(10) Signature

(11) Address

It’s a simple way to show you’re serious about removing “so help me God” and “official” chaplain prayers from the Presidential Inauguration ceremony.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Your readers should be aware that they can fax or scan their submission through Saturday evening, and we still should be able to add plaintiffs. So there’s still plenty of time and it’s just a one-page document that’s easy to do. But go to the website for additional guidance and submission info. Thanks for posting this, Hemant.

  • I will be getting on board. When I heard about the suit, I was sad I wasn’t a part of it as I had written an article prior to the lawsuit being announced, discussing my dismay.

  • Ok I can’t resist asking what’s the point?

    In a lawsuit isn’t it usually because a party has been injured in some way?

    Therefore by hearing “so help me God” in the inauguration are you saying that atheists have been injured? Are they mentally scarred?

    If not, then what should stop, say, Scientologists from suing journalists and bloggers from publishing ‘hurtful’ articles against them?

    What should stop Scientologists from suing for not including Scientologists in these public speeches?

    We all know they have more money than all of us, and the political will to get what they want – more so than any religion or humanist organisation.

    I think the proponents of this should consider the implications and precedent set if they win.

    If a humanist organisation is on equal footing with a religion or cult organisation, then any action the humanist organisation can take, so can the religion or cult.

    And if there’s nothing to stop an atheist President from kindly asking not to include the words at their own inauguration – then what’s the point?

  • benjdm

    I just emailed my scanned document.

  • benjdm

    @ Alex Fear:

    When the framers wrote the Constitution, they did not write the oath to apply only to atheist presidents. The oath, as written, is neither atheistic nor theistic. It is neutral.

    There is a reason conservatives wanted to make ‘one nation under God’ part of the official pledge, the official national motto ‘In God We Trust’ (or We Trust in God in everyday language), and to add ‘so help me God’ to oaths of office. It is to make it so the government is seen as promoting theism over atheism.

    Harm IS done by this. Atheism is seen as un-American and un-patriotic. David Habecker got recalled from his elected position for not stating the Pledge of Allegiance. We have exactly 1 openly atheist Congress – person in our entire history.

    For an atheist president to do something equally unconstitutional, he would have to have two people giving pro-naturalism or anti-theism speeches, and append ‘in our wholly natural reality’ or ‘without the help of fictional gods’ (or something similar) to the oath of office.

    Sticking to the oath of office in the Constitution and not having any religious content is neutrality, not the promotion of atheism.

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