Federal Judge Allows Clergy to Pray at Inaugural

A federal judge yesterday rejected California atheist Michael Newdow’s attempt to bar President Bush from having ministers say prayers at the inauguration, saying the harm was not grave enough to issue such a dramatic emergency order, The Washington Post reported.

U.S. District Judge John D. Bates said: “There is a strong argument that, at this late date, the public interest would best be served by allowing the 2005 Inauguration ceremony to proceed … as planned. That would be consistent with the inclusion of religious prayer or reference in every inauguration commencing with the first inauguration of President Washington in 1789. To do otherwise, moreover, would at this eleventh hour cause considerable disruption in a significant, carefully-planned, national event, requiring program and other adjustments.”

Good news, but the Post ran the story on A8, and the NY Times didn’t see it is as a top story either. Also, because the judge cited the eleventh hour as part of the rationale the door is open for other challenges, it seems to me (I am not an attorney).


–James Jewell
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About Jim Jewell

I am a writer and consultant on faith and public life, active for many years in management and communications in the evangelical community. I now work as the director of the nonprofit practice at The Valcort Group (www.valcort.com). Everything on this blog, however, is my personal opinion and is not read or approved before it is posted. Opinions, conclusions and other information expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of Valcort.
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