Michael Newdow's daughter "loves the Lord," says pastor Chuck Smith
Conservative online media are abuzz this week with word that the second-grade daughter of atheist Michael Newdow, who sued a California school district over the Pledge of Allegiance on her behalf, wasn't troubled by the words "Under God" in the Pledge at all. "The little girl, over whom the suit was filed, happens to attend Calvary Chapel, in Elk Grove," Pastor Chuck Smith told his congregation at Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, California. "She is Christian, her mother is a Christian . …This whole suit was filed on a totally false premise." (Audio of many of Smith's sermons are available here, but Sunday night's sermon hasn't been posted yet.)

The story was apparently first reported by CPINews.net, then picked up by WorldNetDaily. It doesn't appear to have hit the mainstream media yet, though the child's mother, Sandra Banning, was reportedly scheduled for an appearance on CBS's Early Show.

"[Newdow] lied to the court under oath. This is a crime," Austin Miles says in an Assist News Service commentary. "The public must demand that The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco charge Michael Newdow with perjury and punish him to the full extent of the law."

Perjury charges or not, legal scholars were already doubting whether Newdow had sufficient standing to file the suit. This development increases the chances the appeal will be decided on standing rather than on the merits of the case. The full 9th Circuit or the Supreme Court wouldn't have to decide whether "Under God" violates the First Amendment's prohibition on establishing religion. It could just say that Newdow didn't have the right to file the suit.

More Pledge news and analysis:
Pledge opinion:
  • The founders and God | The last thing the founders of the American republic wanted was a public square scrubbed free of God (Jeff Jacoby, The Boston Globe)
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President Bush's God-talk on the Fourth:
Other Church-State issues:
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  • Court-seal appeal planned | A federal judge has ruled that the Ten Commandments image on the Superior Court seal of Richmond County, Georgia, doesn't violate the Constitution. But the legal battle will continue (The Augusta [Ga.] Chronicle)
  • Religion ban: ACT Govt backs down | Religious education will continue to be taught by teachers in class time (The Canberra Times, Australia)
  • Earlier: New bill limits religion in Australian Capital Territory schools | Education minister wants to end religious education during school hours, which 28 of 69 schools currently provide (The Daily Telegraph, NSW, Australia)
Tony Blair and religion:
  • Onward Christian Socialists | Moderate supporters of the Labor party have argued their organization owes more to Methodism than to Marx, but under Tony Blair what was once a piece of conjecture has become an empirical fact (The Scotsman)
  • Bishops clash with Blair | Britain's Prime Minister is facing his biggest confrontation with the Church of England since coming to power over the Government's plans for reform of the House of Lords (The Daily Telegraph, London)
  • Also: Bishops furious at exclusion | The bishops in the House of Lords launched a strong attack on the Labour and Liberal Democrats in anger at their exclusion from the joint parliamentary committee on the future of the Lords (The Guardian, London)
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Clergy abuse:
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Christianity and Islam:
Sex, marriage, and parenting:
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  • Gay-adoption ban defended | The Florida Legislature has the authority to forbid homosexuals from adopting children, lawyers for the state wrote in a brief filed in a federal court (The Orlando Sentinel)
  • Study links spanking to aggression | After analyzing six decades of expert research on corporal punishment, a psychologist says parents who spank their children risk causing long-term harm that outweighs the short-term benefit of instant obedience (Associated Press)
New Westminster:
Church life:
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Missions & ministry:
  • Jim Bowers still wants an apology | More than a year has passed since a single bullet took the lives of the missionary's wife and daughter (Associated Press)
  • Cuban emissary visits Abilene church sponsor | In 1984, Juan Monroy told Castro he had tried to go to Cuba to preach, but had been denied the opportunity. Try again, said the Cuban leader. (The Abilene [Tex.] Reporter-News)
  • Spiritual caregiving | Conference aims to help the clergy sustain their post-9/11 ministry (Newsday)
  • New directions | Billy Graham's mission was to bring a message of reconciling love to a city and to people longing to hear of love and in need of redemption (Editorial, The Cincinnati Post)
  • Religious activists to patrol desert | The move comes after Arizona's deadliest month on record for border crossers. But questions are being raised about the legality of the group's intentions (Tucson [Ariz.] Citizen)
Christian broadcasters and satellite merger:
Christian films:
  • Painterly sermons mix severe and sensual | The North Carolina Museum of Art is showing works depicting heaven and hell by a little-known painter who spent most of his life as an evangelical preacher (The New York Times)
  • His love for Jesus more than skin deep | Timothy West spent 178 hours under the tattoo artist's needle to have his body covered in biblical imagery (The Cincinnati Post)
Religion and sport:
  • Let them pray, says FIFA | Football's world governing body FIFA on Monday said they are "not shocked" by the Brazil delegation's outpouring of religious fervour after they beat Germany 2-0 in the World Cup final (AFP)
  • A divine carnival of victory | Brazil's World Cup Win a Chance to Celebrate Religion of Soccer (The Washington Post)
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Pope John Paul II:
Other stories of interest:

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