Michael Newdow is leading a group of 17 atheist individuals and 10 atheist groups to remove any reference to God at the swearing-in of President-elect Barack Obama. Newdow alleges that such references are unconstitutional because they violate the separation between church and state.

Michael Newdow and the 17 other atheist individuals and 10 groups filed a complaint in U.S. District Court to prevent inauguration officials, including Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who will swear in President-elect Barack Obama and Rick Warren, who will lead the prayer at the inauguration ceremony, from mentioning God. Newdow is no stranger to such lawsuits. He failed in his attempts to prevent any prayer from being included in the inaugurations of President George W. Bush in 2001 and 2005.

Newdow states that phrases like “so help me God” and “under God” are not part of the presidential oath in the Constitution, and should not be used because they violate the separation between church and state. Atheists argue that prayers and statements regarding God at the inauguration mean that the United States government is endorsing the existence and worship of God. They claim that, according to the Constitution, the government cannot support any kind of religion or creed.

I do not want get into the legal arguments of Newdow because they will be dismissed so quickly that it is not even worth it. Newdow is not really making any arguments that he has not already unsuccessfully made in the past. “Under God” is on our currency, our salute to the flag, and numerous government pronouncements. For Newdow to succeed in this challenge, a judge would have to overturn law that has been consistently applied for decades. That is not going to happen. Frankly, I think Newdow knows that his legal arguments will lose. He is just looking for attention.

I am really not sure how an atheist like Newdow feels persecuted by the mention of God in government ceremonies. No one is saying that atheists have to believe in God. Furthermore, Newdow is a graduate of Brown University and holds a medical degree from UCLA and a law degree from the University of Michigan. He worked as an emergency room doctor for years, though he now seems to spend most of his time for atheist causes. America has been very good to you, Michael Newdow. One might even say that you are “blessed” to live here.