Tag Archives: Michael Newdow

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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