CSU–Pueblo hosts notable separation of church and state advocate

The individual noted for bringing to the Supreme Court the constitutionality of separation of church and state on coins and currency and the affirmation of God in the Pledge of Allegiance will share his experiences and perspective at Colorado State University-Pueblo next week.

A board-certified emergency physician who has 25 years experience in a variety of medical settings, Michael Newdow will give a presentation from 3-4:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 24 in Psychology 205. The lecture is co-sponsored by three student organizations -- Psi Chi, Psychology Club, and the History Club.

Newdow also serves as a part-time faculty member with the Emergency Residency program at the Olive View-UCLA Medical Center. He is a graduate of Brown University and the UCLA School of Medicine. While practicing medicine, Newdow also attended the University of Michigan Law School, graduating in 1988.

He did not seriously involve himself in the legal profession, however, until a decade later, when he brought his own case, challenging the use of the words, “under God,” in the Pledge of Allegiance. That litigation went to the United States Supreme Court, where he personally argued the case in March, 2004. Although he lost 5-3 on standing grounds, his performance was called “spellbinding” by the New York Times, “virtuoso” by National Public Radio, and the “Best Oral Argument” of the entire Supreme Court term by the Daily Journal.

Despite his deep interest in Establishment Clause issues, Newdow’s main focus is on Family Law. His scientific and constitutional backgrounds have led him to conclude that the current approach to many key family law issues is deeply flawed, and that the present framework does far more harm than good in the majority of cases. Thus, he is actively involved in attempting to effect change in that legal arena.

He’s had Op-Ed commentaries published in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on-line on Slate.com and Wired.com. His television appearances include such shows as Good Morning, America, The Early Show, Connie Chung, The Pulse, The O'Reilly Factor, Hannity & Colmes, Fox News, Fox & Friends, CNN, Greta van Susteren, Paula Zahn, MSNBC, Channel 1, Catherine Crier, C-Span, Crossfire, Buchanon & Press, Today Show, Court TV, Tony Snow, Scarborough Country, Rita Cosby, PBS (Flashpoints), Dennis Miller, Donahue, and the various network news shows. He has also been on radio (including NPR (with Nina Totenberg, Robert Seigel, and Todd Mundt), Michael Medved, Voice of America, and assorted international news shows (Britain, Japan, Netherlands, Canada, Belgium, France)). Front-page articles have appeared in the New York Times, the LA Times, USA Today, and the Washington Post. He and the Pledge case also have been the subject of articles in Time (in which he was selected Person of the Week), Newsweek, People, the New Republic, and US News and World Report. He was the subject of a documentary film, Pledge of Allegiance Blues, which debuted in August, 2004.

Newdow has engaged in numerous debates, and given presentations at multiple universities and law schools, including Harvard, Stanford and Duke. For his work in the Pledge case, he has received awards from organizations such as the Freedom from Religion Foundation, Refuse and Resist, the American Humanist Association, SF Atheists, and Atheist Alliance International.

Newdow is a minister in the First Atheist Church of True Science (FACTS), and is working to grow that Atheistic religious organization. He holds active medical licenses in multiple states, and is a member of the California Bar.

A true Renaissance man, he also is a past performer in leading roles in assorted musical comedy productions and has produced and performed on a number of CDs, including Just Kidding (children’s songs), Liberty and Justice for All (on the Pledge case), the FACTS Ermnal (songs used for FACTS Church), and Merry Solstice! (full of reworked Christmas songs for a non-Christian audience).

Colorado State University - Pueblo is a regional, comprehensive university emphasizing professional, career-oriented, and applied programs. Displaying excellence in teaching, celebrating diversity, and engaging in service and outreach, CSU-Pueblo is distinguished by access, opportunity, and the overall quality of services provided to its students.