Are you sitting down?
You may want to be sitting down for this.
It looks like your money will continue to have “In God We Trust” written on it.
The lawsuit filed by atheist Carlos Kidd against President Obama and the Chairman of the Federal Reserve to remove the motto from the currency was dismissed by a judge earlier this week.
The brief ruling by the judge said that there was no Establishment Clause conflict based on previous church/state separation cases.
I’m no lawyer… but how is that phrase not an endorsement of religion over non-religion? (Not only that, you know the phrase refers to the Christian god…)
It’s not the most pressing issue atheists have to worry about — we still have to fight against faith-based initiatives, for one — and I would think it virtually impossible to get the phrase off our currency anytime soon, but this is a lawsuit I don’t mind seeing.
Some could argue that it’s yet another case that will set a precedent for the future — a lawsuit that will hurt our future efforts in this area.
Still, I see an upside. Lawsuits like this can get blasted by the media and bloggers. But it raises the question of why that phrase is on the currency in the first place. People start to read up on why the phrase was adopted by our country as its motto — in response to those “Godless Communists” — and why it was originally put on our coins in the 1860s.
Why was it, you ask? Here’s a piece of the letter from Rev. M. R. Watkinson, Minister of the Gospel from Ridleyville, Pennsylvania to Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase which urged the Secretary to put holy words on the coins:
Dear Sir: You are about to submit your annual report to the Congress respecting the affairs of the national finances.
One fact touching our currency has hitherto been seriously overlooked. I mean the recognition of the Almighty God in some form on our coins.
This would make a beautiful coin, to which no possible citizen could object. This would relieve us from the ignominy of heathenism. This would place us openly under the Divine protection we have personally claimed. From my hearth I have felt our national shame in disowning God as not the least of our present national disasters.
A couple years later, “In God We Trust” was adopted. It went away for a little while, but it’s been there since the 1950s.
How is that phrase not Christian? How is it not a violation of church/state separation? How is it not a violation of the Establishment Clause?
The judge was wrong, plain and simple.
And, yes, so were all those other judges before him.
(Thanks to Donna for the link)