Jewish World Review July 8, 2002 / 28 Tamuz, 5762
Jewish Law prohibits the writing of the Creator's name out in full. The spelling below is not intended to be disrespectful, particulary given this column's topic --- editor.
While he may be the most despised man in America right now, the doctor is no fool. He's also a lawyer and an activist. His goal is to remove all traces of theism from American public life. Newdow is an atheist and says any mention of a deity makes him feel "left out."
After years of trying to get the Pledge changed, Newdow finally met his soulmates, pardon the expression, on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. Widely considered the most liberal federal court in the country, the Ninth has been reversed by the Supreme Court in about 80 percent of the cases that the Supremes have accepted from this wild bunch. Clearly, the Ninth has a vision of America that doesn't quite jibe with the big outfit in Washington. Thank G-d (sorry again) for checks and balances.
My interview with Dr. Newdow was fascinating. First of all, I told him that he was violating my rights by trying to rewrite the history of my country. I told him that his hatred of religion was fine with me, but that the United States was founded on Judeo-Christian principles, and the Founders framed the Constitution around G-d-given rights. Newdow told me I was full of it, but then I let him have it -- with the facts.
Fact 1: The Declaration of Independence clearly states the premise of the Constitution: "All men are created equal, that they are endowed by their CREATOR with certain unalienable rights."
Newdow replied that the Declaration was not the Constitution and that the Founders did not want any trace of G-d in the public discourse.
This, of course, is fallacious. The author of the Constitution, James Madison, joined with the first Congress to pass a law paying chaplains for the House and the Senate with public monies . So, not only did the boys want a guy to lead them in prayer -- they wanted guys like Newdow to pay for it.
I also explained to the good doctor that the Supreme Court would overturn this foolish decision by the Ninth because the issue had already been decided in 1983. In a 6-to-3 decision, the Court ruled in Marsh vs. Chambers that the state of Nebraska could open its legislative session with a prayer paid for by public funds (that chaplain again).
Said Chief Justice Warren Burger: "The use of prayer is embedded in the nation's history and tradition ... the Establishment Clause (in the Constitution) does not always bar a state from regulating conduct simply because it harmonizes with religious concerns."
Newdow, no slouch in the research department, shot back that Marsh vs. Chambers had been overturned by the Supreme Court in the 1992 case of Lemon vs. Kurtzman. But that is not true. The Supremes simply decided to use other standards in deciding that imposed prayers during public graduation invocations, a completely different set of circumstances, were unconstitutional. They are still praying in Nebraska.
And I hope some of those prayers are for Dr. Michael Newdow and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. These people are not looking out for their country, they are trying to impose a narrow set of secular standards on a nation that was founded on principles that are much greater.
There is no question that America was set up to allow its citizens to be free because the Framers of the Constitution believed that was why G-d created man -- to exercise free will. It is simply unconscionable for activist judges and fanatical atheists to intrude on the history of the United States.
In the end, the Pledge of Allegiance will be restored, the senior judge in the case has already stayed his own order, and Americans will be allowed to follow traditional values if they so choose. Christmas will remain a public holiday, "In G-d We Trust" will remain on the currency, and "so help me G-d" will stay as a legal guardian of truth in court.
But the anti-G-d squad will also remain with us, fighting like hell (uh-oh) to eliminate any spiritual references in public. It is what these people do. But it is not who we are.
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07/01/02: Charity begins at home