10 January 2009

Obama So Helps Him God

So, Obama has responded to Newdow's lawsuit:

(CNN) — President-elect Barack Obama has requested that the words “so help me God” be added to the end of the oath of office to be administered by Chief Justice John Roberts on Inauguration Day.

That confirmation came in an affidavit filed today by Roberts' court counselor in a pending lawsuit by an atheist opposed to any mention of God in the inaugural ceremonies. Roberts said he would abide by Obama’s wishes.

(I like how Newdow is nameless here, as if his identity was somehow impossible to discern. No, he is just a scary, trouble-making 'atheist.')

Okay, fine. This is fine. Even Newdow's suit says that if Obama wants to add it personally, then fine. I am wondering, though, if there will ever come a time when Obama acknowledges the faithless. And I don't mean in a Yes-I-know-you're-there way. More in a Yes-I-know-you're-there-and-I-respect-you kind of way. He's already spat in the eye of both atheists, but more particularly (at least, in the priorities of the nation) gays with this whole Rick Warren crap, but it feels a little like Obama is at least willing to do something to placate the LBGT community. Like this:

A source tells me Fred Hochberg, an openly gay former Clinton Administration official, will be named to head the Export-Import Bank.

Hochberg, who was deputy administrator of the Small Business Administration under Bill Clinton, was a prominent Clinton supporter in the primary, and a is a major donor to both Democratic and gay causes.

Gay groups have complained of a shortage of high-profile gay and lesbian appointees, and the appointment of Hochberg, who is prominent in gay political circles and served on Obama's transition, may ease those complaints, though gay groups had been lobbying to make him Commerce Secretary.

Is this a little 'Hey, sorry about that Warren thing' appointment? Maybe. Probably not. The question is why we freethinkers do not get apology appointments, or anything, to make our group happy (don't expect any godless appointments any time soon). Is it them, or it is us? It's both.

We catch a lot of heat for being vocal at all--whether it's through lawsuits like Newdow's, billboards, or counteracting signs for nativity scenes. We're supposed to shut up, like blacks were supposed to shut up, like gays were supposed to shut up, like women are still expected to shut up.

Obama's move here, to me, doesn't diminish Newdow's attempt. In fact, I think it shows that these sorts of actions need to be taken up more, with more fanfare, with more gusto. Just because we didn't get the answer we wanted doesn't mean we should sit quietly in the corner and, well, shut up. We have a point, we will continue to make that point until someone of authority finally realizes that we will not shut up, like blacks didn't, like gays won't, like women shouldn't. That's why no one--so far--really listens to us, nor cares to. Part of it is who we are. The other part is that we are not as vocal as we could be as who we are. We need to shout louder--it's that simple. We need representation. We need to get over this 'herding cats' mentality and join forces.

Newdow's lawsuit isn't a failure, it is one more block in the successful building of a wall of resistance to religious tyranny. I suggest, as I always do, that you atheists who are active, stay active. You who are not--who don't think we need to be--wise up or shut up.


  1. I enjoyed your article and agree 99% about being active and voicing your opinion (One with an open mind, shouldn't commit 100% as perfection is a myth) I'm brainstorming for ideas myself and hope to make waves in the kiddie pool soon.

  2. Looks like I'm not going to watch any part of this inauguration. I'm also in the process of having my name removed from the various Obama's e-mail lists.

  3. I've already committed to a little celebration gathering at their house. I feel it would be petty (is that the right word), or at least, it would come *across* as petty, if I withdrew because of my insane atheist rantings. I guess I'll just go play with the dog when Shithead comes on. =)

  4. Their* (some friends) I don't know where my head is today. =)