Tom McFeely is the National Catholic Register’s News Editor. He lives in British Columbia.
Michael Newdow doesn’t care about everyone’s rights.
But the litigious California atheist is obsessed with imposing his own alleged “right,” and that of other atheists, to purge America’s public square of any references to religion.
Newdow is spearheading a lawsuit that seeks to remove references to God and religion from next month’s inaugural ceremony. According to CNN, Newdow and the other plaintiffs “contend having to watch a ceremony with religious components will make them feel excluded and stigmatized.”
One of the things to which the atheists object is President-elect Barack Obama’s plan to be sworn with the same Bible that was used at President Abraham Lincoln’s inauguration in 1861.
It’s unfortunate and even bizarre that these atheists feel aggrieved over something as innocuous and good-spirited as the use of this Bible and by the other references to God in the inaugural ceremony — if in fact their alleged discomfort isn’t being artificially manufactured for the specific purpose of promoting their lawsuit.
But the vast majority of Americans who do believe in God certainly have every bit as much of a justification to argue that they have been excluded and stigmatized publicly, on those occasions when courts misinterpret the U.S. Constitution to grant the small percentage of Americans who don’t believe in God the authority to impose their anti-religious perspectives on the nation’s public life.
And Newdow and other atheists who pursue such suits have never provided a persuasive argument as to why their “rights” as atheists should trump the rights of believing Americans on this issue.
The good news? Even Newdow admits that there is little chance a judge will accept his silly legal arguments with respect to the inauguration ceremony, although that’s not going to stop him from trying to find one who will.
— Tom McFeely