Judge Allows 'God' Phrase in Oath

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WASHINGTON --  A federal judge will allow President-elect Barack Obama to continue using the words "so help me God" when he takes the oath of office Tuesday.

Atheist Michael Newdow had filed a lawsuit to strike the words from the oath, arguing religion should have no place in an official government event, like the inauguration. Newdow also sought to remove any other references to God and religion during the ceremony. Thirty-nine non-theist groups and individuals joined the suit.

Click play for more on the lawsuit with Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law & Justice.

But on Thursday, U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton refused to issue an order preventing the ministers from praying or Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts from administering the oath.

Earlier today, President-elect Barack Obama had asked the Chief Justice to let him finish the oath of office with the traditional invocation. 

On Wednesday, the American Center for Law and Justice had asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit. The Justice Department and the attorneys general of all 50 states also filed motions asking that the suit be thrown out.

"This is once again a flawed attempt to purge all religious references and observances from American public life," said Jay Sekulow, ACLJ Chief Counsel.

"The fact is that this country has a long history of invoking God at inaugural events," he explained. "Such references are not only appropriate but constitution as well. This legal challenge is clearly misplaced and we're hopeful it will be rejected by the court."

Newdow has twice lost claims challenging inaugural prayer in the past and the ACLJ argues that the lawsuit "must not be permitted to move forward."

References to God at inaugurations date back to the very origins of the United States, according to the ACLJ.

Sources: ACLJ, CBN News

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