Atheist Michael Newdow and a group of 17 atheist individuals along with 10 different atheist groups are seeking a court injunction to remove any reference to God at the swearing-in of President-elect Barack Obama. The atheists are alleging that such references are unconstitutional violating the separation between church and state.
They are seeking to eliminate the prayers traditionally given during the inauguration ceremony and particularly to eliminate the traditional phrase, “so help me God”, from the actual oath.
Dr. Newdow failed in similar legal challenges to the 2001 and 2005 inaugurations of President George W. Bush.
Response: Newdow is a publicity hound for sure. Fortunately I can’t find even one legal expert that gives the atheists any chance of success in their current challenge.
Prayers and the phrase- “so help me God” have been a part of the inauguration ceremony from the very beginning with the swearing-in of the first President- George Washington.
A majority of the framers of the Constitution were alive at the time and many were present at the first inauguration. Not one of them objected to the Prayers or the references to God. Obviously their understanding of the ‘separation of church and state’ was considerably different than Dr. Newdow’s et al.