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Jewish World Review July 3, 2002 / 23 Tamuz, 5762

David Limbaugh

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Purging Christianity from our culture

Jewish Law prohibits the writing of the Creator's name out in full. The spelling below is not intended to be disrespectful, particulary given this column's topic --- editor. | Emboldened by the bizarre 9th Circuit Court of Appeals three-judge panel decision that the teacher-led recital of the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional, plaintiff Michael Newdow is seeking other religious dragons to slay.

Newdow explained on "Hannity and Colmes" that he brought the lawsuit because, "I'm an atheist, and the government's not supposed to impart its religion on society, and it does, and I tried to change that."

He was first upset about G-d's intrusion into our lives when, during an epiphany while buying soap, he discovered that our currency contained the words "In G-d We Trust." This non-divine revelation was apparently on the order of St. Augustine's vision.

St. Augustine, you will recall, was fighting his doubts and seeking to capture a firmer faith in Christ when he heard the voice of a boy or girl "chanting and oft repeating 'Take up and read,'" which he interpreted to be a direct command from G-d to pick up the Scriptures and read the first chapter "he should find." He opened the Bible and read, "Not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying; but put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh." He needed to read no further, "for instantly at the end of this sentence, by a light as it were of serenity infused into my heart, all the darkness of doubt vanished away."

Whereas Augustine's garden epiphany led to his instant and consuming faith in Christ, Mr. Newdow's supermarket epiphany resulted in this life-changing insight, "This is ridiculous. I don't trust in G-d. Why (is) my government putting this here? I knew there was something in the Constitution that said they weren't allowed to do it."

Newdow initially planned to sue the government over G-d's encroachment on our currency, but being a pragmatist, he decided he had a "much stronger case" in challenging the pledge. But with last week's empowering legal victory, he may pursue other injunctions against the Almighty.

According to the New York Times, he still plans to contest the currency and "would like to see an end to prayers at presidential inaugurations." He was quite perturbed at the numerous prayers at President Bush's inauguration. In a curious choice of terms for an avowed atheist, he described his reaction, "I said, 'Holy smokes, they can't do that!' Why should I be made to feel like an outsider?"

It's fairly easy to poke fun at the eccentric Newdow, who also, incidentally, wants to eradicate masculine and feminine pronouns from our dictionary. He would replace "he" and "she" with "re," "his" and "hers" with "rees" and "him" and "her" with "erm." "'Come on, try it out,' he says. 'Re went to the store. It's easy.'"

But don't get too giddy. Kooks have the same access to our courts as the next guy. And some of them seem determined to erase G-d from our society systematically.

Isn't it ironic that they so proudly cite the Constitution yet are willfully blind to its original intent? They overlook the incontrovertible fact that the Establishment Clause was never intended as a restriction on state governments (the majority of which had state-established religions), much less on state education.

Its purpose was to prevent the federal government from establishing a national religion or to interfere with any religions already established by the states so that people in the several states (and their communities) could exercise their religion free from federal coercion, unlike the England from which their ancestors fled.

The Framers did not mean to bar G-d from our public lives or even from all aspects of our federal government. Indeed, the day after the House passed the First Amendment, the House passed a resolution establishing a national day of prayer and thanksgiving.

Let's wake up. Even if the 9th Circuit panel's silly decision is reversed, the anti-Christians, in the name of pluralism and tolerance, are intent on banishing the G-d of Bible and biblical values not just from the public square, but from our culture in general.

As unpopular as it is to say, biblical values -- thoroughly ingrained in our Founding Fathers and unmistakably incorporated into our founding documents -- are what has made these United States of America utterly unique in history.

Our culture -- including our unparalleled tradition of freedom -- has declined and will continue to decline in direct proportion to our rejection of biblical values.

Of course Christians want no part of established religions, but neither do we want, nor can we afford, the excommunication of our founding values from the public square or our culture.

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David Limbaugh, a columnist and attorney practicing in Cape Girardeau, Mo., is the author of the just-released exposť about corruption in the Clinton-Reno Justice Department, "Absolute Power." Send your comments to him by clicking here.