Michael Newdow is a Sacramento, California attorney and medical
doctor. He is a strong atheist and an ordained minister of the Universal
Life Church. In 1997, Newdow started a naturalistic organization
called the First Amendmist Church of True Science (FACTS), which
advocates a strong separation of church and state in public institutions.
is most famous for a lawsuit filed on behalf of his daughter against
inclusion of the words "under God" in public schools'
recitals of the United States Pledge of Allegiance. The 9th U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals found that the phrase constitutes an
endorsement of religion, and therefore violates the Establishment
Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
However, the decision was later overruled by the U.S. Supreme
Court on procedural grounds, citing that Newdow did not have custody
of his daughter and therefore did not have the right to bring
suit on her behalf. Newdow has once again filed suit regarding
the same issue, but this time on behalf of three unnamed parents
and their children. Citing the precedent set by the 9th U.S. Circuit
Court of Appeals in the course of Newdow's previous suit, U.S.
District Judge Lawrence Karlton has concurred that the pledge
is unconstitutional when recited in public schools.
November of 2005, Newdow announced he wants to have "In God
We Trust" removed from U.S. money. In a November 14, 2005
interview with Fox News' Neil Cavuto, Newdow compared "In
God We Trust" being on U.S. Currency with segregation (specifically
separate drinking fountains), saying "How can you not compare
those? What is the difference there? Both of them (whites and
blacks) got equal water. They both had access. It was government
saying that it's OK to separate out these two people on the basis
of race. Here we're saying it's OK to separate two people on the
basis of their religious beliefs."
a principle here, and I'm hoping the court will uphold this principle
so that we can finally go back and have every American want to
stand up, face the flag, place their hand over their heart and
pledge to one nation, indivisible, not divided by religion, with
liberty and justice for all. "
government must pursue a course of complete neutrality toward
have the right to bring up my daughter without God being imposed
into her life by her schoolteachers."
day I was just looking at the coins [-- that] is what brought
this up. I saw "In God We Trust" on my coins. I said,
"I don't trust in God," what is this? And I recalled
there was something in the Constitution that said you're not allowed
to do that and so I did some research. And as soon as I did the
research, I realized the law seemed to be on my side and I filed
the suit. It's a cool thing to do. Everyone should try it."
issue is whether or not our government should be infusing religion
into [the public schools]. Our churches are very strong in this
nation and I think that's great and everybody should have the
ability to worship as he or she sees fit. I choose to worship
not believing in God and government should not thrust a religious
idea down my throat."
believe in the Constitution. The Constitution says that government
isn't supposed to be infusing religion into our society, and so
I asked to have that upheld."
think the Constitution has been upheld. I think they made the
is the greatest nation and what has made it great is our Constitution.
The framers were quite wise in recognizing what religion can do
and how it can cause hatred and how it can cause death. You don't
have to go far in this world, outside of our nation, to see where
that has happened. It is prevalent over the entire globe and the
reason we don't have it here is because we have an establishment
clause ... If Mike [an audience member and critic] wouldn't mind
saying "we are one nation under Buddha" every day, or
"one nation under David Koresh" or "one nation"
under some religious icon that he doesn't believe in ... if he
doesn't understand the difference then we have a problem."
feel like I am not an American in the eyes of my government because
of their religious beliefs. I think that is un-American."
people I know I think agree and even many theists agree with this.
We don't want government involved. When atheists become the majority
in this country, I don't think the theists are going to be glad
to have "one nation under no God" inserted in the Pledge
Court Justice Anton Scalia] should be commended for acknowledging
that his views are so strong that -- should the Pledge case reach
the Supreme Court -- he wouldn't be able to maintain the requisite