The Islamic Post Blog


Atheists’ Aim To Remove Religious Inaugural Reference Not Sucessful by Khalida
February 2, 2009, 10:28 am
Filed under: February Volume I- 2009, National | Tags: ,

By Mubeen Khaleel

Islamic Post Staff Writer

Michael Newdow, an atheist from California, was unsuccessful in his lawsuit to prevent President Barack Obama from including the phrase, “So help me God,” in the text of the Oath of Office administered to him by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts on January 20th.  The proceeding, held in U.S. District Court of Judge Reginald Walton, was similarly as unsuccessful as a previous legal action taken by Mr. Newdow to remove the phrase, “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance – a case taken all the way to the Supreme Court.
Justice Roberts, California Senator Diane Feinstein, and the two reverends who offered the invocation and closing remarks at this historic inauguration, Rev. Rick Warren and Rev. Joseph Lowery, were all named in the failed legal action.  Mr. Newdow’s view was also obviously not shared by many:  the Justice Department and the attorneys general of all 50 states filed motions at the federal court asking that the lawsuit be thrown out.
Conditions of lawlessness, crime and violence, war and suffering evoke statements of faith, belief, and strong religious conviction from all quarters of the nation and the globe.  Despite the almost universal instances of peoples the world over drawing monumental strength from the seed of their belief in an Almighty Creator, a new advertising campaign entitled “Why Believe in a god?” was launched by the American Humanist Association (AHA) using Washington D.C. public transportation late last year. The Metrobus ad slogan, initiated just before the Christian holiday season, sported the traditional red and green colors, and followed up with the words, “Just be good for goodness’ sake.”
Although AHA claims not to be proselytizing, the atheist group admits the aim is to increase its membership. “We expect these bus signs to generate a lot of public interest,” said Fred Edwards, director of communications for the American Humanist Association. “Some folks may be offended but that isn’t our purpose. We just want to reach those open to this message, but unaware how widespread their views are.”
While the American Humanist Association (www.americanhumanist.org) hopes the “no religion” population will continue to grow, they have joined hands with Buddhists, Sikhs, Hindus, Pagans, and others who do not identify with the predominant Christian, Muslim, or Jewish doctrines. “Humanists and adherents of minority religions, by simple dint of their minority status, should find it essential to join forces to guard against discrimination and to enhance outreach and educational efforts,” reads the AHA website. The advertisement campaign portrays under the slogan  a light-complexioned man with dreadlocks, who could be from any religious or ethnic background, accomplishing their aim of appealing to a broad spectrum of individuals, of all persuasions.
A 2001 study conducted by the Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture showed that the total number of people who did not follow a religion numbered 29.4 million in 2001, a jump from the 14.1 million figure of 1990. People who term themselves atheist, agnostic, humanist, secular, and strictly “no religion” fall into this category. Barry A. Kosmin and Ariela Keysar are currently conducting the 2008 study which will include special modules on Catholic, Mainline Christian, Evangelical Born-again, African-American and also “no religion” populations.
While the figures for the time period between 2001 and 2008 are not yet available, it can be assumed that, due to active atheist organizations, the number may have already escalated another 10 million.
Similar research, and its conclusions, has led analysts to claim that Islam, the fastest growing religion in the West, is now the largest religious body in the United States, as many who were Christians or Jews have, most unfortunately, abandoned their religion and no longer prescribe to religious doctrine.

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