Atheists File Lawsuit against Prayer at Inauguration
Atheist groups, led by Dan Barker co-president of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, filed a lawsuit yesterday to ban prayer at President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration ceremony, the latest in a string of efforts to ban religious wording from secular American institutions, including schools.
Barker, who said government's not picking sides on the issue of religion is "hard wired into our Constitution," called the 29 members of the suit all atheists and agnostics who love their country and participating in the inauguration.
"Yet we are subjected to someone else's religious views with the endorsement of the government, which makes us feel like second class outsiders," he said.
Many believe that the law suit is unwarranted, citing that it is Mr. Obama's personal decision to have prayer at the inauguration, not a requirement of the government. Having prayer at public ceremonies is not considered unconstitutional, though declaring a national religion would be.
According to the lawsuit, the opening and ending prayers "are completely exclusionary, showing absolute disrespect to Plaintiffs and others of similar religious views, who explicitly reject the purely religious claims that will be endorsed, i.e., (a) there exists a God, and (b) the United States government should pay homage to that God."
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