Monday, January 17, 2005

A win for religious pluralism

Michael Newdow, the atheist who sued to get "under God" from the pledge of allegiance, was again denied his plan to strip all public life of religion. A U.S. District court judge ruled that his petition should be thrown out of court. He had lost in the same complaint in California. At issue was whether Mr. Newdow would suffer any injury from hearing the prayer. He couldn't show that it would "force him to accept unwanted relgious beliefs". Mr. Newdow said that since he had a ticket this year the atmosphere would be more coercive than in previous years when he just watched it on television.

While I am not for forcing Christianity on anyone, I think that removing religion from the public arena is stupid. Rather than push all religion back into people's homes and houses of worship, we should be giving public space for ALL religions to share their beliefs. The President is a Christian and if he wants to say, "so help me God." in his inauguration, then I don't see why we shouldn't allow that. In the interest of plurality and fairness, that means if a Jewish or Muslim person becomes President, then we must also allow them to change the phrase to "so help me Yahweh" or "so help me Allah".