Lynn v. Sekulow

Lynn v. Sekulow


No Constitutional Crisis With Inaugural Prayers

posted by Jay Sekulow

Barry, once again, another legal challenge that you probably support – a federal lawsuit filed by Michael Newdow attempting to stop the mention of God at the inauguration of President-elect Obama and the inclusion of prayers at the inaugural ceremony itself.

 

Newdow has a troubling history of trying to purge all religious references and observances from American public life.   And, like his other attempts, this lawsuit is not only legally flawed by misplaced.

 

In our amicus brief filed with the federal court in Washington, DC – we argue that the Newdow suit should be dismissed.

 

“This personal crusade serves no purpose other than to waste judicial resources at a time in our Nation’s history when those resources are needed in cases involving real threats to American liberties,” the brief asserts.

 

There’s a long standing tradition in this country that when the oath of office is administered to the President-elect by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, it concludes with the phrase “So help me God.”  The inclusion of prayers at the inaugural ceremony is also part of that history, too.

 

The fact is that references to God at inaugurations date back to the very origins of this country.  And Steve Waldman has done a nice job detailing some of that history with this post. 

 

Our brief outlines specifics too:  “In his first inaugural address, President Washington proclaimed that ‘no people can be bound to knowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than those of the United States,’ because ‘every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency.’  Inaugural Addresses of the Presidents of the United States, S. Doc. No. 10, 101st Cong., 1st Sess. 2 (1989).  Thus, the Inauguration of the man who was ‘first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen,’ was blessed with an invocation of Divine Aid by the very Chief Executive.  Every subsequent Inaugural has likewise afforded the Chief Executive the opportunity to expressly invoke Divine Aid, or to acknowledge the working of the Divine Hands in the enterprise that is this great Nation.”

 

There’s no constitutional crisis with President-elect Obama concluding the oath of office by proclaiming “So help me God.”  And, there’s no constitutional crisis with the inclusion of prayers offered during the inaugural ceremony.

 

It’s interesting to note that Newdow has twice lost claims challenging inaugural prayer in the past.  That’s what should happen this time around, too.  The court should reject this legal challenge without delay.



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Your Name

posted January 15, 2009 at 6:56 pm


There may not be, as you suggest, a constitutional crisis at hand, but there certainly is a credibility crisis when legal pundits like yourself have used George Washington as the poster-child for ceremonial deism by forever repeating the legend that Washington had padded his presidential oath with “So help me God.” Here’s an honor roll of members who have endorsed this same Orwellian legend: Robert Blomquist, Michael P. Riccards, Phillip Munoz, Martin J. Medurst, William J. Federer, Mathew A. Pauley, and Michael Nelson. When justices of the Supreme Court like former Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Associate Justice Antonin Scalia have also perpetuated the same legend, I’m sorry to say, we do have a problem.



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Boris

posted January 15, 2009 at 8:09 pm


Prayers never bring anything… They may bring solace to the sap, the bigot, the ignorant, the aboriginal, and the lazy – but to the enlightened it is the same as asking Santa Claus to bring you something for Xmas
- W. C. Fields
Pray: To ask that the laws of the universe be annulled in behalf of a single petitioner confessedly unworthy.
Ambrose Bierce
Here’s what i would like the prayer to be:
God hated the world so much that he sent his only son so that whoever does not believe in him will perish and be tortured eternally for it.



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Swami Gurudev

posted January 16, 2009 at 1:10 am


I don’t see why there’s so much of venom and hatred spewed out by a handful and in some instances individuals when it comes to prayer and God. It appears that Michael Newdow makes it an “inaugural time” issue every time a President takes office.If he’s been snubbed in the past, why does he waste the judicial resource time unnecessarily? This should be considered frivolous and thrown out immediately and never entertained in the future.It is a waste of national resources, time and money and we cannot afford this any more.



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Your Name

posted January 17, 2009 at 11:38 am


First of all don’t claim you know what prayer is if your an atheist.
Prayer is more powerful than you can imagine. You would have to try it out sometime to believe me for yourself. Also prayer isn’t asking God to give me this and give me that. It is communication with Him who hears us and is always there for us. And believing in God isn’t a chore or anything taxing. Its life and its freedom. And we can practice in America. Inagural prayer isn’t wrong nor is it a way to achieve peace and comfort. Its saying that yes i will be a good president and swear to the Almighty Creator on it. How is that agonizing and painful and just downright hard to do? Its also a verbal promise to the electorate that the president will uphold our democracy. And i hope obama will.



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Boris

posted January 18, 2009 at 4:38 pm


Your Name,
You said: First of all don’t claim you know what prayer is if your an atheist. Prayer is more powerful than you can imagine. You would have to try it out sometime to believe me for yourself. Also prayer isn’t asking God to give me this and give me that. It is communication with Him who hears us and is always there for us.
Boris says: Suppose for a minute, that Obama were to say ‘so help me Zeus’. Sam Harris wrote, “How comforting would it be to hear the President of the United States assure us that almighty Zeus is on our side in our war on terrorism? The mere change of a single word in his speech – from God to Zeus – would precipitate a national emergency. If I believe that Christ was born of a virgin, resurrected bodily after death, and now is literally transformed into a wafer at the Mass, I can still function as a respected member of society… because millions of others believe [the same]… The perversity of religion is that it allows sane people to believe the unbelievable en masse.”
You said: And believing in God isn’t a chore or anything taxing. Its life and its freedom. And we can practice in America.
Boris says: Freedom in the Bible means something very different from our usual notion of being able to make choices. It compares more closely to being free of lice. In Romans 6:17-18 it is clear that the believer is no closer to having free will. Freedom simply means “available for subjection to God” instead of to sin. The problem is that the only real sin is ignorance.
Inagural prayer isn’t wrong nor is it a way to achieve peace and comfort. Its saying that yes i will be a good president and swear to the Almighty Creator on it. How is that agonizing and painful and just downright hard to do? Its also a verbal promise to the electorate that the president will uphold our democracy. And i hope obama will.
Boris says: How could you know how agonizing and painful it is to hear your president express a belief in supernatural mysticism in the face of modern science? Suppose Obama was to say that he does not believe that there really is a God?



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Your Name

posted January 23, 2009 at 11:58 am


Boris says: How could you know how agonizing and painful it is to hear your president express a belief in supernatural mysticism in the face of modern science? Suppose Obama was to say that he does not believe that there really is a God?
Then he probably would not have been elected and this wouldn’t be the discussion, for he assured the masses that he did believe in God and more then 80 percent of Americans agree with him on that belief. Dispite the angry few who deny that belief, not one that claimed to be a athiest has ever been elected to the office of President, (maybe an athiest or two lied about being a believer has, but that is different discussion).



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Boris

posted January 23, 2009 at 8:23 pm


Your Name,
I know that no professing atheists have been elected to the office of president. What’s your point? That most Americans are overly religious, scientifically ignorant, culturally prejudiced, superstitious bigots? That is what I attribute the fear of atheists and atheism to and why no atheists have been elected president. Jesse Ventura is an outspoken atheist who was elected governor of Minnesota and would make a better president than what we have or had to choose from.
Before he had politics to worry about, Abraham Lincoln wrote a treatise against Christianity, arguing that the Bible was not God’s revelation and Jesus was not the son of God. After his assassination, his former law partner said Abraham was “an avowed and open infidel, sometimes bordering on atheism… He went further against Christian beliefs and doctrines and principles than any man I ever heard.”



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Lawrence Sink

posted January 28, 2009 at 7:00 pm


Rev. Lynn, Should reverend precede your name? Seems to me that if you don’t confess the name of Jesus in whatever setting you are in that Jesus will confess that He doesn’t know you.
Separation of church and state is not mentioned in the Constitution.
It is just a catch phrase that indicates an anti-Chirst stance. I will be glad when Christ comes with his rod of iron. Tell our Lord about the separation of church and state then.



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Boris

posted January 28, 2009 at 8:19 pm


Lawrence Sink
There is no Jesus to come back and torture all the people you disagree with. Jesusneverexisted.com. Check it out. Your threats are empty.



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Wayne

posted January 29, 2009 at 2:02 pm


Boris,
I checked out Jesusneverexisted.com…..no dice. The site is not believable….it is full of misrepresentations of the scripture, poorly and sometimes unbelievable documentation of sources, intellectual bias. I took the time and read a great deal of the website, it only affirmed my belief in Christ.
As far as calling “your name” bigoted, that sounds like the pot calling the kettle black.



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Boris

posted January 29, 2009 at 3:14 pm


Wayne,
Not so fast buddy. If there was actually anything on that site you could refute you would have happily done so. The fact that you did not and will not is a dead giveaway you’ve got nothing. The Jesusneverexisted.com site is not believable to YOU because you can’t afford to risk accepting what it overwhelming proves – that Jesus Christ never existed. This site proves beyond ANY doubt whatsoever that the case against Christ is a slam dunk.
A person such as you who thinks that if they do not accept every word of the Bible as being true they will be tortured with unimaginable violence for all eternity cannot possibly look at evidence against their superstitions objectively. You’ve been frightened out of your mind into accepting the Christian system of dogmatic superstitions by other PEOPLE. Operating under the weight of these fear induced superstitions you have no ability to make critical, skeptical, logical or reasonable assessments of evidence against your faith. Your Christian arrogance will not let you admit that you might not be special after all and you’re just like everybody else. Your fear of dying and death makes you cling to the hope of an afterlife for which there is absolutely no evidence. Deconversions therefore, always come after a long, slow and painful process. May I suggest you begin this process today by taking another good close look at that site. No rational person can come away from there still believing that Jesus Christ ever existed. Or debunk the site if you can. I’d like to see you try.



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N. Lindzee Lindholm

posted October 19, 2009 at 8:27 pm


http://www.discoveringjesusfishing.net5
Newdow’s challenge thrice times round is a waste of taxpayer money and time. Three strikes and he’s out. Since historically the words “So help me God” have been included, commenced first by Pres. Washington, then this phrase should be allowed to continue. This saying does not establish a religion, is not a religious prayer, or is not a part of a religious exercise. Thus, so help me God, these words should stand and I stand with them.



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