|Earthrise, taken by Bill Anders on Apollo 8.|
The 3-astronaut crew of Apollo 8 — Commander Frank Borman, Command Module Pilot James "Jim" Lovell, and Lunar Module Pilot William "Bill" Anders — became the first humans to travel beyond low Earth orbit, the first to see Earth as a whole planet, and then the first to directly see the far side of the Moon.
On their ninth orbit of the Moon, the crew did a television transmission, that included this reading from Genesis (transcript here)
And, boy, did they get in hot water over it.
Madalyn Murray O'Hair, a militant atheist, responded by suing the United States government (specifically, the NASA administrator), alleging violations of the First Amendment.The suit (O'Hair v. Paine, 397 U.S. 531 1970) was dismissed by the Supreme Court due to lack of jurisdiction.
Y'all notice there's always got to be an atheist, or a homosexual group, or some rabble-rouser that agitates against the reading of God's Word? Strange how a book has such power over men, that they think it must be repressed. It's as if the Word of God...
...is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
Ol' Backwoods shares the sentiment from the Apollo 8 crew for all his readers:
And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas – and God bless all of you, all of you on the good Earth.
UPDATE: Lovell recreates the transmission this year.