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Lawsuit challenges inaugural oath, prayers

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CALIFORNIA (Associated Press) An atheist who has fought to remove the words "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance has joined a lawsuit seeking to remove all religious references from President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration.

Michael Newdow (NOO'-dow) believes government references to God or religion are unconstitutional.

He wants to remove the phrase "so help me God" from the oath of office, noting that it isn't in the oath set out in the Constitution.

The lawsuit also seeks to block inaugural prayers by the Rev. Rick Warren and the Rev. Joseph Lowery.

Newdow sued to remove religion from inaugurations in 2001 and 2005 but lost both cases.

This time, he's joining 17 other plaintiffs, including atheist and humanist organizations.

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