Monday, January 10, 2005
Is the presidential inauguration a Christian affair?
FROM THE WASHINGTON POST: The California lawyer who tried to have the phrase "under God" removed from the Pledge of Allegiance now wants to legally prevent President Bush from placing his hand on a Bible while being sworn in at his inauguration.
Some stuff is wrong, but we ignore it. Like seeing someone shoplift -- do you say something? Or is it none of your business?
Michael Newdow has filed a complaint and a motion for preliminary injunction in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia seeking to remove prayer and all "Christian religious acts" from the January 20 inauguration. Newdow asserts that the presence of Christian ministers who pray publicly at the inauguration, Christian songs and the swearing of the oath of office while a president places a hand on the Bible violates the establishment clause of the First Amendment.
I've always been of the opinion that this is a Christian country, and we should all just accept Christmas trees and the like... after all, what's wrong with letting the majority have their fun? But the truth of the matter is that the government is not supposed to promote any one religion over another, since it comes close to establishing that favored religion as a state religion, and having the president swear his oath on a Christian Bible is favoring that particular religion. The Constitution does not require the new president to place his hand on a Bible while repeating the oath; it is inappropriate, therefore, for the president's private beliefs to impose themselves on the public ceremony. What kind of message does it send to non-Christians? Perhaps it is that this man believes so deeply in his convictions that he is willing to swear on something he holds holy that he will uphold the Constitution of the United States and defend her against all enemies... or perhaps it sends the message that Christians get to be president, and the rest of us are out of luck.
Michael Newdow is probably a jerk once you get to know him, and that's unfortunate. Why? Because he's right about this one.