I do get rather tired of militant atheists who seem to have something akin to evangelical zeal in their insistence that we all should be atheists. What is it about prayer or a belief in God that these people find so offensive that any mention of either in a public forum sends them into a frenzy? Apparently they do not understand the Constitution. It stipulates that the state may not establish a religion. It does not in any way prohibit the practice of religion by elected officials within government. So here is the saga of another atheist crusader who want to banish prayer from the public arena and in the process is only succeeding in making a total ass of himself. ================================================ http://www.alliancedefensefund.org/news/default.aspx?mid=800&cid=3291 Constitution says Amen to option of prayer at inaugurations Newdow suit aimed at halting prayer at President Bushs inauguration baseless Wednesday, January 12, 2005, 4:39 PM (MST) SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.History as well as legal precedent clearly show that prayer at Presidential inaugurations is not unconstitutional, according to constitutional law experts at the Alliance Defense Fund. The analysis comes on the eve of a hearing scheduled in atheist Michael Newdows federal lawsuit attempting to prevent President Bush from having a minister deliver an invocation at his inaugural ceremony Jan. 20. The Framers of the Constitution and the First Amendment engaged in prayer at official governmental ceremonies, said ADF Senior Counsel Jordan Lorence. George Washington was inaugurated our first president several months before the First Amendment became part of the Constitution, yet he talked about God in his first inaugural address, placed his hands on a Bible, added so help me God to the presidential oath of office, and attended worship services as part of the inaugural activities. Lorence added that the First Congress, three days after approving the First Amendment, approved a paid chaplain to pray before each session of Congress. Clearly, the Framers saw prayer as an integral part of government functions, Lorence said. Lorence also pointed out that the government does not force anyone to view or participate in the inaugural events. People know what they are going to see at the Inauguration, so it should come as no surprise that someone will pray. Americans understand that throughout our nations history, new presidents want to ask for Gods help and guidance for our nation. Even though Americans differ in their religious beliefs, Lorence explained, they can unite at an inauguration around prayer. We agree with Samuel Adams, who said that we can hear a prayer from a gentleman of piety and virtue, who was at the same time a friend of his country. Lorence expects Newdow or President Bush to appeal any adverse rulings to them on an emergency basis to the federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., or to the U.S. Supreme Court before the Inauguration takes place at noon on Jan. 20.