ICC Note: A federal appeals court recently denied an atheist’s persistent attempts to remove the phrase, “In God We Trust,” from United States currency. The court ultimately ruled that the words are not a form of compelled speech and that there are alternative forms of payment if the complainant did not wish to use cash that included the phrase. This case has been one of several that challenged the presence of this motto in recent years.
06/04/2018 United States (Christian News Network) – A federal appeals court has rejected an atheist’s continued attempts to have the motto “In God We Trust” removed from American currency, concluding that the printed phrase is not compelled speech and agreeing with a lower court ruling that the complainants in the case have ample alternatives to cash if the motto bothers them that much.
“Plaintiffs’ complaint does not allege that anyone has ever attributed the motto to them. And the Supreme Court has strongly suggested that the motto’s inscription on currency does not compel speech,” wrote the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
“Though access to credit or bank accounts is not universal, not one of the plaintiffs alleges that his or her financial situation forecloses access to credit or checks. Plaintiffs therefore have not plausibly alleged that they lack a feasible alternative to cash for engaging in commerce,” it said.
As previously reported, atheist Michael Newdow, who has filed numerous suits challenging the mixture of God and government, first submitted a complaint in the Southern District of New York in March 2013, asserting that the motto violates the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution as it serves to proselytize unbelievers.
But in September of that year, U.S. District Court Judge Harold Baer, Jr., nominated by Bill Clinton, rejected Newdow’s arguments, opining that “the inclusion of the motto on U.S. currency . . . does not violate the Establishment Clause [of the Constitution].”
He consequently appealed his case to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan, but in May 2014, the court likewise ruled against the prominent atheist.
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