Tag Archives: In God We Trust

Pentagon bans Bible verses on dog tags, while Pres. Trump upholds right to pray in public schools

No Bible Verses on Soldiers’ Dog Tags

The Pentagon caved in to (((Mikey Weinstein))) of the atheistic Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) again.

Caleb Parke reports for Fox News, Dec. 3, 2019, that for the past 20 years, U.S. military members have been able to wear dog tags with Bible verses on them, giving them light and hope in some of their darkest times. For some Gold Star families, this is one of their most cherished possessions to remember their loved one who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

Founded by Kenny Vaughan in 1998, Shields of Strength is a Texas-based company that makes Christian jewelry, beginning with a dog-tag with a Bible scripture which Vaughan had made for himself. The company now makes dog-tags with Bible verses for military members and their family, as well as other Christian-theme jewelry and apparel.

After Fox News reported on Shields of Strength last July, Weinstein complained to the Department of Defense (DOD), demanding the DOD ban the Bible verses dog-tags. “Soon after,” each military branch pulled or threatened to pull the trademark licenses that had been issued to Kenny Vaughan from Shields of Strength.

Berry, a Marine Corps combat veteran who served in Afghanistan, told Fox News: “Just when I didn’t think Mikey Weinstein could stoop any lower, he pulled a stunt like that. He’d rather take it away from them just to raise his own publicity than support our service members … that’s pretty cowardly and that’s cruel.”

Vaughan said he’s seen soldiers, who have to leave their Bible behind, carry their Shields of Strength dog-tags with them; oftentimes, the soldiers would stand in line for hours just to get one: “The love of Jesus changed my life forever. It’s the most valuable thing I have to offer anyone is God’s Word. No one needs it more than a young man or woman fighting for our freedom and we’re going to fight for them.”

An acquaintance of mine who’s a Constitutional Law attorney, says:

“While I would absolutely oppose the military issuing such tags (even with a request from the servicemember) it is outrageous that servicemembers can’t voluntarily inscribe their own tags. From a legal point of view, if the military allows any inscriptions at all (like “I Love Mom”) then banning religious ones is content discrimination. That triggers strict (constitutional) scrutiny.”

Prayer in School

Meanwhile, on January 16, 2020, President Trump followed through on his promise to the Evangelicals for Trump rally in Miami on January 3 to “safeguard students’ and teachers’ First Amendment rights to pray in our schools” through a directive from the Department of Education.

As reported by the AP and Christianity Today, the Department of Education issued a guidance on school prayer, the first updated guidance since 2003. The directive orders states to verify that school districts have no policies limiting constitutionally protected prayer, refer violators to the Education Department, and provide ways for making complaints against schools.

From the Department of Education’s press release of January 16, 2020:

[F]or the first time since 2003, the Department will …issue today updated guidance on constitutionally protected prayer in public elementary and secondary schools. The Department is required by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act, to update this guidance every two years. The guidance explains the ESEA’s requirement that states report which local educational agencies have not certified that they do not have any policy that prevents, or otherwise denies participation in, constitutionally protected prayer. The ESEA also requires states to report complaints against a local educational agency that allegedly denies a person, including a student or employee, the right to engage in constitutionally protected prayer. The guidance clarifies that the ESEA requires states to provide a clear process for students, parents, and teachers to report violations of their right to pray. Under the ESEA, states must fulfill these reporting requirements by November 1 of each year.

Christianity Today reminds us that public schools have been barred from leading students in classroom prayer since 1962, when the Supreme Court said it violated a First Amendment clause forbidding the establishment of a government religion. Later decisions extended the ban to school graduation ceremonies and, under certain circumstances, school athletic games.

Civil liberties groups say the firewall protects religious minorities and ensures fair treatment of all faiths. But many Christians say courts and schools have pushed too far against the right to free religious expression. Surveys find that Americans remain largely in favor of prayer in public schools:

  • According to General Social Survey data analyzed by political scientist Ryan Burge, just 20–35% of Christians support a ban against requiring reading the Lord’s Prayer or the Bible in public schools, and the religiously unaffiliated are evenly divided on the question.
  • A 2019 Pew Research Center survey found 41% of teens in public schools, including 68% of evangelicals, said they view teacher-led prayer in class as appropriate. A majority of teens in general (82%) and evangelical teens (64%) say there are no religious support or prayer groups that meet in their school.

South Dakota’s Republican Governor Kristi Noem, 48, is also fighting back against the Left’s tyranny.

In March 2019, Noem signed a law requiring every public school throughout the state to display an “In God We Trust” sign on their premises beginning in the fall semester. The law went into effect last July. (H/t Tom Wigand)

~Eowyn

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Atheist loses lawsuit to remove ‘In God We Trust’ from U.S. currency

A piece of good news, at last, in the contemporary American wasteland.

Do you remember a man named Michael Newdow?

Newdow, 65, is the Californian atheist who’s been jamming the courts with lawsuits.

Newdow’s most recent lawsuit was to have “In God We Trust” removed from U.S. currency on the grounds that the motto is a government endorsement of religion and so violates the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment. Last year, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Newdow — the judges found that the motto on currency “comports with early understandings of the Establishment Clause” and did not coerce people into practicing a religion.

See DCG’s “Lawsuit demands US remove ‘In God We Trust’ from money“.

“In God We Trust” was first put on an American coin in 1864, and added to both coins and paper bills in 1955. A year after, in 1956, President Dwight Eisenhower signed a law making the phrase the national motto.

Leah Klett reports for Christian Post, citing Fox News, that on June 10, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected, without comment, Newdow’s appeal.

In 2013, Newdow had partnered with the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation to sue the U.S. Treasury over the motto on currency. In his petition to the Supreme Court, Nedow, a lawyer whose clients are other atheists, had argued that:

  • The government violated his clients’ “sincere religious belief” that there is no God and turned them into “political outsiders” by placing the phrase “In God We Trust” on their money.
  • The placement of “In God We Trust” on money “has real effects on real children” and subjects atheist children to the same sufferings  historically endured by black children as “second class citizens”.

In the words of Newdow’s petition, which refers to “God” as “G-d” — a Jewish practice:

Petitioners are atheists. As such, they fervidly disagree with the religious idea that people should trust in G-d. On the contrary, their sincere religious belief is that trusting in any G-d is misguided. Defendants have conditioned receipt of the important benefit of using the nation’s sole ‘legal tender’ upon conduct proscribed by Petitioners’ atheism (i.e., upon Petitioners’ personally bearing – and proselytizing – a religious message that is directly contrary to the central idea that underlies their religious belief system).

Unless this Court ends the flagrant governmental preference for belief in G-d (and the implicit concomitant denigration of Atheism), the organizations, adults and children bringing this case will spend the rest of their lives – as they have spent their lives so far – as secondclass citizens.

Mat Staver, founder and chairman of religious liberty law firm Liberty Counsel, praised the court’s rejection of Newdow’s petition: “Our national motto ‘In God We Trust’ has been on all U.S. currency for more than 60 years and it will remain there, despite ridiculous attempts by atheists to remove it.”

Newdow’s past litigation includes:

  • Several failed litigation challenges against the “under God” phrase in the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance. In 2004, after suing for the removal of “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance, his case was heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. But the court did not decide on the merits of the case but instead said Newdow had no standing to sue. See my post, “‘Under God’ stays in Pledge of Allegiance“.
  • Attempts to stop prayers being read at the inauguration of Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush.
  • Attempts to prevent government leaders from saying the phrase “So help me God” in the 2009, 2013, and 2017 presidential inaugurations.

See also:

~Eowyn

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