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Call for Activists in Upcoming Newdow Pledge Ruling

From: Atheists U.
Sent on: Sunday, June 22, 2008 10:17 PM
June 22, 2008

In the next week, Atheists United expects the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to announce a ruling on the case brought by Michael Newdow on the unconstitutionality of "Under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. And, given how they ruled when this case was before them in 2002, we have an expectation that they will rule it to be unconstitutional.

But don't for a minute think that will be the end of the story. As soon as that ruling is announced, and no matter what the ruling is, there will be a firestorm of pundits and religious-right organizations blanketing the news proclaiming all sorts of nonsense as to why religious graffiti should be in our civic expressions and institutions.

And there will be no response from the other side.

At least, that's the way it has always played out.? But this time, our side has been preparing and will be ready to get our voice out there, to let the media and our elected leaders know that many Americans oppose those religious instrusions.

We are asking every church-state activist to be prepared for this moment and to participate in the counter-response, to make the public and our elected officials know that religious bigotry is wrong and out of place in our government.

Atheists United has partnered with Alonzo Fyfe, known on-line as "The Ethical Atheist," to develop and post several webpages of resources that you can draw upon in your response. The first one is at: http://atheisteth...­.

These 33 posts include short descriptions of the argument to be countered and responses to those claims. These include claims like, "atheists are trying to remove God from the public square", to "Removing God from the schools is a cause of our moral decline", to "The Pledge of Allegiance is merely a patriotic exercise."

There is also a "Sound Bytes" website - a listing of major points written so that they can be delivered in 15 seconds (or 2 sentences) or less. You can find the Sound Bytes post at: http://atheisteth...­

In both instances, you are able and encouraged to add any arguments or sound bytes that you think of in the comments to help others.

When the ruling is announced, pay attention to the news sources and the commentators, and what arguments they are using. Then write a letter or e-mail and respond as quickly as you can with why the ruling was correct and why the commentator was wrong.? Feel free to draw upon the above resources as needed.
We expect this ruling to dominate the news media only for?3 to 7 days,?or?until something else distracts the media.? So it is vital for you to respond as quickly and as often as you can during that window.

In order for Atheists United to track the response, we are asking you to also either fax a copy of your letter to: (805)[masked], or e-mail a copy to: [address removed].

If you have the time, it may be a good idea to review these pages over the next couple of days so you will be attuned to the arguments that the pundits will make.

Atheists United and other church-state organizations will be doing our part to counter the pundits. But our efforts will mean nothing unless it is joined with a concurrent outpouring of response from the grassroots.? If you care about "Under God" in the pledge and "In God We Trust" on our currency, this will be a defining moment to change the status quo.

This is likely to be the most important ruling and opportunity for church-state activists to make this year. Falling in a presidential campaign season, it is doubly critical for church-state activists to get the word out and let the candidates know that we're paying attention and we care.

We will be reading the best of the letters and e-mails that we receive at the July 3rd "Indivisible Day" rally we will be holding at the Ventura County Government Center from 12 Noon to 1pm. We hope that you will join us in this effort and add your voice to those who are tired of our First Amendment rights being trampled.

Thank you for your participation.
-Stuart Bechman
President, Atheists United
[address removed]

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