Michael Newdow, who last year brought a suit all the way to the Supreme Court seeking to ban public school students from saying “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance, has filed a new suit on behalf of himself, a “pantheist” 3rd grader and seven others, seeking to have the words “under God” declared unconstitutional in all official recitations of the Pledge.
The Supreme Court refused to decide Newdow’s original suit, ruling he did not have standing to sue on behalf of his daughter because he did not have primary custody of the girl.
Newdow also filed a separate suit in federal court in the District of Columbia arguing that President Bush “stained” the 2000 Inauguration with Christian clergy and prayer. The suit demands prayer be barred from this year’s Inauguration.
“Defendant President Bush stained the nation’s inaugural ceremony with a gross violation of the 1st Amendment’s Establishment Clause,” says Newdow’s complaint. “Specifically, two Christian ministers were intruded into that governmental function, for the express purpose of giving sectarian, Christian prayer.”
Newdow’s complaint says “acknowledgments of God . . . remind him of Sept. 11, 2001, when a fanataic and his religious followers turned four airplanes into bombs, murdering 3,000 of our citizens.”
Newdow’s new suit against the Pledge was filed in federal court in Sacramento. This suit admits: “Plaintiffs all acknowledge and stipulate to the fact that none of them are or have been actually compelled to say the words, ‘under God,’ in the Pledge of Allegiance.”
But Newdow argues the Pledge has stymied his political ambitions. “Plaintiff Newdow,” says the complaint, “would like to run for public office. However, polls show that nearly 50% of Americans would refuse to vote for an atheist merely because of his religious beliefs. . . . The public antipathy toward atheism–and, thus, Newdow’s inability to obtain elected office–is due in part to the official endorsement of monotheism contained in the Pledge.”
The complaint identifies one plaintiff as “RoeChild-1” who “is in 3rd grade at a public school” and who “is a pantheist, who denies the existence of a personal God.”