For God’s Sake, Get a Hobby!
By: Rachel Marsden
Some people have way too much time on their hands. Take Michael Newdow, for instance. Newdow is a flagrant atheist from Sacramento, California. He is an emergency room doctor and also happens to have a law degree. He admittedly spent over 4000 hours of his free time trying to get the phrase “under God” banned from the Pledge of Allegiance that his third-grade daughter recites in school every day.
The scary thing is that he actually succeeded. In a 2-1 majority decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Alfred T. Goodwin wrote that the phrase “one nation under God” can reasonably be seen by atheists or believers in non-Judeo-Christian religions as an attempt to “enforce a ‘religious orthodoxy’ of monotheism.”
It is any wonder the 9th Circuit is the nation’s most overturned court, and is known for making loopy liberal, activist judgments? If there was any common sense at all on this bench, the court would have made reference to West Virginia v. Barnett—in which it was determined that no one can be made so say something they don’t believe in. The court would have reminded Newdow that his daughter wasn’t under any kind of obligation to say the offending phrase. The panel should have promptly tossed out the case and encouraged Newdow to take up another hobby besides launching seemingly frivolous lawsuits that attack history and tradition.
The absolutism implied in the court’s decision is absurd. The term “God” can be used to refer to the cosmic muffin of one’s choice—and it doesn’t necessarily have to be of the Judeo-Christian variety that the Founding Fathers had in mind. However, that in itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing. A Judeo-Christian “god” doesn’t advocate blowing oneself up and flying airplanes full of people into buildings—all in His name. And why should a country that has received from God (as proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence) all the rights and liberties that it enjoys and stands for, change things now to suit the politically correct sensibilities of some people?
If my fellow pundit Ann Coulter had her way, she’d “invade all [the terrorists’] countries and convert them to Christianity.” It’s a bold statement that alludes to the violence and horror that comes with worshipping non-Judeo-Christian “gods” in other countries.
The entire Newdow affair is a stunning example of political correctness run amok. The fact that his case got as far as it did in the US court system is mind-boggling. It’s reminiscent of a situation in Canada whereby a group led by Senator Vivienne Poy is lobbying to change the words “in all thy sons command”, contained in the Canadian national anthem, to something more gender-neutral. The movement gave rise to Bill S-39, which is still under debate in the Canadian Senate.
One would think that Poy and Newdow would put their talents to better use than fighting “word wars.” From environmental degradation and unemployment, to health care reform and homeland security, there are many other more important and pressing issues to deal with.
In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, Newdow described his legal pursuits as “interesting and fun.” He has pursued two other similar cases against the government. A US District Court recently threw out a lawsuit that Newdow filed against President Bush for allegedly turning his 2000 inauguration into a semi-religious event. But unfortunately, we haven’t heard the last of Newdow. He’s now on a crusade to neuter the English language. Newdow claims that he wants to replace the gender-specific pronouns “he” and “she” with “re”, and “his” and “her” with the word “res.” Is re out of res mind? Before Newdow delves into another 4000 hour marathon of legal preparation to address this new issue of gender bias on the part of the Queen’s English, perhaps I can recommend a marathon training group or a trip around the world—one which might enable Newdow to see what things are really like in countries where Judeo-Christian values aren’t upheld.