Over the years, there have been many attempts to remove traditional phrases and mottos from America’s monuments, currency, and even the Pledge of Allegiance.
One such person that has made a name for himself doing just that is practicing atheist and activist attorney Michael Newdow. The activist recently expended a great deal of effort attempting to have the phrase “under God” removed from the Pledge of Allegiance to no avail, and is back at it again. This time, his goal was to have the national motto, “In God We Trust” stricken from America’s currency and coins. He took his case all the way to Supreme Court, where he thankfully lost his fight against the Department of Treasury.
Newdow described Congress’ mandate to inscribe “In God We Trust” on all national currency as an “endorsement of religion and violation of his and others First Amendment rights.” Part of his argument before the Supreme Court was that his clients’ rights and beliefs were violated. He feels that since these individuals and groups do not believe in God themselves, and that they are then turned into “political outsiders” by the placement of “In God We Trust” on each piece of money they use. This was the foundation on which Newdow built his most recent case against the Department of Treasury.
The justices of the Supreme Court rejected Michael Newdow’s petition without making a comment. The phrase was originally added to the American coin in 1964 during a span of “increased religious sentiment.” It was then added to both paper bills and coins in 1955, and has remained there since despite occasional opposition.
It’s not just currency and the Pledge of Allegiance Newdow has attacked. The militant atheist has also made efforts to silence any and all religious references and prayers at the inaugurations of both President Barack Obama and George W. Bush. In essence, Newdow has been attempting to remove God from the public square in any and all manner for around twenty years. He believes the word “God” should in no way be associated with anything having to do with the government. His basis for this belief is “freedom of religion.” Consequently, he primarily represents other atheists and atheists’ groups who are like minded. Of course, when one really understands the meaning being “freedom of religion,” they realize that Newdow is misinterpreting its original purpose. It is “freedom of religion,” not “freedom from religion.”
Admittedly, when the argument is actually taken at face value, one can perhaps see why an atheist wouldn’t want to the name of “God” spoken or written on anything public. However, are their rights really being violated as claimed by the presence of that word? Most certainly not. The presence of “In God We Trust” on a dollar bill doesn’t mean an atheist has to follow a particular religion in order to spend said money. It also doesn’t say that any particular religion or lack thereof is deemed greater than any other. Any American has the freedom to believe in any god or no god at all. The motto is simply a sentiment added to currency that reminds the nation of its founding heritage, a fact that no atheist can deny simply because they don’t believe a certain way.
Newdow might have had a valid case if he claimed offense due to the presence of the phrase. However, as of right now at least, there is no known law that states a person can’t be offended. Therefore, there is no valid legal avenue to have the phrase removed. To actually accrue damages and win a Supreme Court case, Newdow would have to prove damages occurred that violated or impeded his or his clients’ rights. That has not happened and cannot be proven.
The Supreme Court ruled as it should legally — that the phrase would not be removed from American currency. Hopefully, it will stay put for many more years to come.
~ Patriotic Freedom Fighter