Last week, a federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by atheists, who sued to have the phrase, "In God We Trust" removed from U.S. coins and currency, according to The Huffington Post.
The case was brought by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, alongside 19 other plaintiffs all represented by Michael Newdow, an attorney and atheist. The parties sued the U.S. Treasury Department and government officers a few months ago. The plaintiffs claimed that in placing the phrase "In God We Trust" on national currency, they were being discriminated against as non-believers and that this was ultimately a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
In their complaint, FFRF Co-President claimed, "Our government is prohibited from endorsing one religion over another, but also prohibited from endorsing religion over non religion. The placement of a monotheistic ideal on our nation's currency violates this stricture and is therefore unconstitutional."
The plaintiffs also claimed, in their complaint, that they were being forced to "proselytize -- by an Act of Congress -- for a deity they don't believe in whenever they handle money."
However, U.S. District Judge Harold Baer, Jr. saw otherwise, in dismissing the lawsuit altogether. Judge Baer stated that the United States Supreme Court has "repeatedly assumed the motto's secular purpose and effect," reports The Associated Press.
Judge Baer, further found that there was no constitutional violation under the Clause, and stated that the motto's placement was secular. He also claimed that the placement of the motto on currency did not constitute a "substantial burden" on atheists, according to The AP.
The placement of "In God We Trust" on U.S. coins was first approved by Congress during the Civil War era back in 1864. This is not the first time that atheist have attempted to challenge this inclusion as a violation of the First Amendment.
Newdow claims that they are going to attempt to appeal the latest ruling, reports The Huffington Post.
- 'In God We Trust' Lawsuit: Freedom From Religion Foundation Sues To Remove Phrase From Currency (The Huffington Post)
- Annotation 2 - First Amendment (FindLaw)
- Establishment Clause (FindLaw's LawBrain)
- High School Graduations at Church Violate Establishment Clause: 7th Cir. (FindLaw's Decided)