Michael Newdow, an atheist well known for his attempts to remove religious themes from government property, has a new strategy in mind when it comes to the phrase “In God We Trust.” He wants it removed from the dollar bill, and this isn’t his first attempt.
In 2013, he submitted a claim that the phrase “In God We Trust” violates the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution because it is a way of evangelizing those who do not believe in God.
U.S. District Court Judge Harold Baer, Jr. ruled that “the inclusion of the motto on U.S. currency … does not violate the Establishment Clause [of the Constitution].”
Newdow took his complaint to another court system, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan, which also knocked down his request.
“The Supreme Court has recognized in a number of its cases that the motto, and its inclusion in the design of U.S. currency, is a ‘reference to our religious heritage,’” the court wrote. “We therefore hold, in line with the Supreme Court’s dicta, that [the motto appearing on currency does] not violate the Establishment Clause.”
“[C]hallenges to this practice under the Establishment Clause have, so far, failed,” Newdow wrote on a Patheos guest post. “Challenges under RFRA, however, are not as susceptible to misapplication. This is because every Supreme Court justice involved in the three RFRA cases heard to date has agreed that, under RFRA, religious activity may not be substantially burdened without a compelling governmental interest and laws narrowly tailored to serve that interest.”
“There is obviously no compelling government interest in having ‘In God We Trust’ on our money,” he continued. “Accordingly, for those who feel that being forced by the government to carry a message that violates their religious ideals is substantially burdensome, lawsuits are now being prepared.”
Newdow is now calling on families with small children to step up and address the court system. He believes that the court is more sympathetic to the agendas of children.
“What we need mostly are families with minor children since the Supreme Court has indicated that it is more likely to uphold constitutional (and, presumably, statutory) principles when children are involved,” Newdow wrote.
“If you wish to participate—especially if you have minor children who you think will look back with pride as adults, knowing their parents gave them the opportunity to personally take part in strengthening civil rights in our country—please write to [me],” he reiterated.