Atheist activists’ crusade to have the words “In God We Trust” removed from U.S. currency was dealt a major blow this week when a U.S. district court dismissed a lawsuit brought against the Treasury Department by the Freedom From Religion Foundation and Michael Newdow, a lawyer and emergency room doctor.
Judge Harold Baer, a federal district judge in the Southern District of New York, ruled that the argument that the national motto violates the establishment clause of the First Amendment is unfounded, CBN News reported.
The American Center for Law and Justice, a conservative legal organization, submitted a brief to the court defending the motto and calling it ingrained in American history. The organization also noted that the establishment clause isn’t intended to provide the public with a pledge that it will not be exposed to religion or religious symbols.
“The national motto simply echoes the principle found in the Declaration of Independence that our freedoms come from God and not the state,” the organization said.
While the ACLJ was pleased with the end result, Newdow and the Freedom From Religion Foundation most certainly won’t be.
In March, the atheist group announced it was joining 19 other plaintiffs in challenging “In God We Trust.” The challenge was filed on Feb. 1 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
“Our government is prohibited from endorsing one religion over another but also prohibited from endorsing religion over nonreligion,” Dan Barker with the Freedom From Religion Foundation said in a statement. “The placement of a monotheistic ideal on our nation’s currency violates this stricture and is therefore unconstitutional.”
In the initial complaint, the organization said having “In God We Trust” on currency constitutes “proselytizing, discriminatory and a per se establishment of monotheism.” This, they said, is a violation of the establishment clause in the Constitution.
According to the plaintiffs, the choice to put the line on currency was religious in nature. They said they are forcibly exposed to faith and “proselytized” by the U.S. government on a regular basis each and every time they handle money.
Atheist activists have also claimed discrimination because they do not embrace a higher power. The “we” in “In God We Trust” is problematic for them because it doesn’t include their non-theistic worldview.
The judge, however, was not persuaded by these arguments.
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(H/T: CBN News)