The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), the same group that brought us the indispensable “DeBaptismal Certificate,” hit a roadblock Monday when its appeal to omit the phrase “under god” from the Pledge of Allegiance was denied review by U.S. Supreme Court justices.
Michael Newdow, the Sacramento attorney who represented FFRF and who also sits on the organization’s honorary board, has vowed not to give up his years-long crusade against what he alleges is a violation of separation of church and state.
From San Francisco Chronicle:
A Sacramento atheist’s challenge to the addition of “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance, which stirred a legal and political frenzy nearly a decade ago, has quietly expired in the U.S. Supreme Court.
The justices denied review Monday, without comment, of Newdow’s appeal on behalf of the Freedom From Religion Foundation and a New Hampshire family. They wanted the court to overturn a ruling in November by a federal appeals court in Boston that the daily schoolroom pledge to “one nation under God” was a patriotic exercise, not an endorsement of religion.
Another appeals court in San Francisco reached a similar conclusion in March 2010. In a 2-1 ruling, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the pledge recognized “our founders’ political philosophy that a power greater than the government gives the people their inalienable rights.”
Over a decade’s worth of rejection:
Newdow first challenged the Pledge of Allegiance in 2000 on behalf of his daughter, then a student in a Sacramento-area elementary school. In 2002, the Ninth Circuit ruled that the addition of “under God” was religiously motivated and sent “a message to unbelievers that they are outsiders,” in violation of the constitutional separation of church and state.
Congress reacted furiously, condemning the decision in a resolution that passed with virtually no dissenting votes.
But, as The Blaze’s Billy Hallowell explained:
While Newdow and his cohorts continue to encounter setbacks to their radical and perplexing agenda, their endurance is a powerful force.
In fact, altering the Pledge of Allegiance for U.S. public schools hasn’t been Newdow’s only push to rid our nation of all references to “god.” In 2008 Newdow sued Chief Justice John G. Roberts and others involved in the inauguration of Barack Obama. The lawsuit was an attempt to thwart Roberts from reciting the phrase “so help me god” during the swearing in ceremony. Newdow also filed a similar lawsuit over George W. Bush’s second inauguration. So far, he has failed, at least legally, at every turn.
What is perhaps most ironic of all, is that Newdow, an atheist, is founder of the First Atheist Church of True Science (or, F.A.C.T.S) and is also an “ordained minister” of the Universal Life Church who openly admits he believes “atheism is a religion!”
From F.A.C.T.S’ web site:
Like most religions, FACTS has rituals, although – unlike most religions – none are in any way required. We recommend most of all that each FACTS member pause and reflect at each new moon. How long you pause and what you choose to reflect upon are purely your choices. FACTS also has recommended Church garb, a recommended Church libation, and a recommended closing hymn for each congregational meeting.
In the end, I guess FACTS can be stranger than fiction…