Prayer During Inauguration Issue Tested in Courts - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

1/8/09

Prayer During Inauguration Issue Tested in Courts

The group led by Michael Newdow is going to court over the constitutionality of the four words "so help me God." He filed suit on December 30, 2008 in a Washington, D.C. District Court. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott authored a brief and filed it Thursday with the Attorney Generals from every other state to defend the constitutionality of prayer during President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration. This is nothing new.

In an audio statement on the Texas Attorney General's website, Abbott released this statement: "These challenges are very serious. We face ongoing attempts by atheists to remove God from public acknowledgement and we have to treat all these challenges very seriously."

Abbott says he's been fighting the plaintiff in this lawsuit, Michael Newdow for years. Newdow is no stranger to the courts. He tried to keep the Pledge of Allegiance out of schools and prayer out of President Bush's two inauguration ceremonies. He's trying again with President-elect Barack Obama.

Newdow claims prayer in inauguration ceremonies violates his constitutional rights. Local Pastor Tim Radkey of Hope Lutheran Church sees the good in this lawsuit. "Actually it's affirming and exciting because it just reminds me that what we believe and what we see is true," says Radkey. He's not surprised by this case.  "Jesus talked about this issue 2000-years ago. You'd be persecuted to include Me in the public sector and the public realm," says Pastor Radkey.

"Official reference to God has been part of this nation since George Washington first took the Oath of Office when the nation first began. And on behalf of all 50-states, I'm asking the court uphold the tradition," says Abbott.  

A hearing is set for January 15, in a Washington D.C. District Court.

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