one god, under the nation

This nation has become a theocracy, as proven by the absolute astonishment of the overwhelming majority, and their extraordinary virulence, when they hear that anyone might object to the state imposition of their particular cult. I hugely admire those who work to bring it in line with the principles of its fundamental document, and this particular citizen seems to be able to move mountains.

The California atheist who sued to remove "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance now wants to kick the House and Senate chaplains out of Congress.

Michael A. Newdow, a lawyer and emergency room doctor, this week filed suit in federal district court in Washington contending that it is unconstitutional for taxpayer-funded chaplains to pray in Congress and minister to lawmakers. He wants the court to prohibit the House and Senate from employing spiritual chaplains, who are paid by Congress to lead prayers, counsel members and perform other religious tasks. Chaplains make as much as $147,000 per year.

"If congressmen want to go to church, [then] walk down the block like other Americans do and go to church,'' Newdow said in an interview yesterday. "Don't get my government engaged in it. There are some people who don't love God Almighty. That's why we have an Establishment Clause," the constitutional ban on government establishment of an official religion .

Trent Lott doesn't quite get it.
"The Capitol is the people's house,'' Lott said, "and I believe the overwhelming majority of Americans who send their senators and members of Congress to Washington to represent them, are comforted by the fact that our chaplains lead us in seeking guidance from a superior power, as we are called upon to make decisions. We should not look upon this as a frivolous case but as another attack on religious liberty."
The plucky plaintiff does not lack confidence in the ultimate success of his case. He points out that the Supreme Court issued a ruling in 2000 which concluded that "the religious liberty protected by the Constitution is abridged when the State affirmatively sponsors the particular religious practice of prayer."
Newdow, who says he "absolutely denies the existence of any Supreme Being," claims he applied for the jobs of House and Senate chaplains, and was passed over.
Wish us luck.

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Published on August 30, 2002 8:08 PM.

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