I just read the CNN article "Lawsuit seeks to take 'so help me God' out of inaugural" written by Caroll Cratty (here is the url:http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/12/31/inauguration.lawsuit/index.html).
From the article: "Newdow and other plaintiffs say they want to watch the inaugural either in person or on television. As atheists, they contend, having to watch a ceremony with religious components will make them feel excluded and stigmatized.
"Plaintiffs are placed in the untenable position of having to choose between not watching the presidential inauguration or being forced to countenance endorsements of purely religious notions that they expressly deny," according to the lawsuit.
The data from the "Coming Out as an Atheist" survey indicates that indeed non-believers do feel uncomfortable in these situations. Here is the question from the survey and the results:
Which best describes how you feel in public gatherings where religion is invoked (for example when a speaker refers to god or says a prayer)?
I feel no discomfort 18.4%
I feel slight discomfort 34.2%
I feel moderate discomfort 29.1%
I feel great discomfort 18.4%
So, as you can see, the vast majority of the 8,200 people who took the survey feel at least some discomfort in settings -such as the inauguration- where religion is forced on those listening. That over 18% feel great discomfort is significant.
My knee jerk thought is to offer our data to Newdow (et al) so as to provide empirical data for their lawsuit. Thoughts from you?
Take care out there tonight.