Atheists Sue U.S. Government to Take ‘In God We Trust’ Off Our Money

A group of atheists led by Michael Newdow is suing the U.S. Treasury for putting “In God We Trust” on our money. Newdow, of course, famously and unsuccessfully fought to remove “Under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance nearly a decade ago.

The complaint (PDF) was filed last month in a New York district court by Newdow, his mother, the New York City Atheists, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, several families (with children), and several others. Defendants include the U.S. Congress and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.

It’s freakishly long, too. 116 pages in all. And the plaintiffs’ stories… well, let’s just say the general public is going to have a hard time taking them seriously:

[Rosalyn Newdow] is a numismatist, whose purchases of coin sets from Defendant United States Mint date back at least forty years. Because of the “In God We Trust” verbiage, however, she has felt obligated to stop purchasing the coin sets, thus being deprived of the pleasure and the investment opportunity she would otherwise partake of.

[Kenneth Bronstein] is a numismatist, whose purchases of coins from Defendant United States Mint date back over sixty years. Because of the “In God We Trust” verbiage, however, he has opted not to purchase some coins, thus being deprived of an investment opportunity as well as the enjoyment of the hobby.

[Benjamin Dreidel] has personally been unwillingly forced to confront the “In God We Trust” verbiage whenever he gazes at the coins and currency bills he uses in general commerce in this judicial district.

[Plaintiff Neil Graham] feels the “In God We Trust” language is so alienating that he has altered his behavior to use as little cash as possible.

Plaintiff [Julie] Woodward is also a teacher who has, at times, taught the mathematics of coins and currency to elementary school children. With “In God We Trust” on each monetary instrument, she is personally placed in the uncomfortable position of being complicit in the teaching of what she believes is a religious statement to her students.

It goes on like that for a while.

I don’t think religious Americans, nor many other atheists, are shedding tears anytime soon over the fact that the plaintiffs find it burdensome to have and spend and deal with money. (Hell, if they have a problem with it, I would be happy to help take it off their hands…)

Beyond that, though, the document is actually a fascinating history of how and why the phrase is on our currency. Like this comment from former Representative Herman Eberharter (D-PA):

[T]he American dollar travels all over the world, into every country of the world, and frequently gets behind the Iron Curtain, and if it carries this message in that way I think it would be very good. I think that is one of the most compelling reasons why we should put it on our currency.

So why are they ultimately suing?

For a number of reasons, including:

  • The defendants have “established monotheism”
  • The defendants have violated plaintiffs’ equal protection rights
  • Secular justifications for the defendants’ actions are shams

The appendix to the case even includes this graphic, showing the dramatic increase in mentions of the word “religion” in the Congressional Record from 1949 – 1959:

These data clearly reveal the increased influence and involvement of religion in government (and of government in religion) that occurred contemporaneously with Congress mandating “In God We Trust” on the money and as the national motto.

As much as I’d love for the atheists to win, this case will likely be rejected as frivolous (says me, the non-lawyer). They’ll say “In God We Trust” is tradition. They’ll say it’s our country’s motto. They’ll say it’s “Ceremonial Deism.”

For what it’s worth, the phrase was challenged in 1970 in the case of Aronow v. United States. Back then, the Ninth Circuit United States Court of Appeals ruled:

It is quite obvious that the national motto and the slogan on coinage and currency “In God We Trust” has nothing whatsoever to do with the establishment of religion. Its use is of a patriotic or ceremonial character and bears no true resemblance to a governmental sponsorship of a religious exercise.

You don’t have to agree with it, but the courts have ruled on it. And they’ll likely make the same arguments again this time.

They’re not going to take God off the money.

Sorry to let you all down.

Good effort, though…

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • ZenDruid

    I’ve always felt that IGWT translates effectively to “Life’s a bitch and then you die.” Howzabout they use that as an alternate slogan?
    Or better yet, “The Dude abides.”

    • coyotenose

      If we’re going to print a quote from that movie on currency, I cast my vote for “Nobody fucks with the Jesus!”

      Yes I know. It still amuses me.

      • 3lemenope

        Eight-year-olds, dude.

        • coyotenose

          Gyah!

  • Mackinz

    I hope something positive comes of this.

    Our motto isn’t secular and endorses religion, regardless if it’s Deism or, as is more widely considered, Christianity.

    Besides, our original motto (e plurubus unum) totally lacks religious controversy. Why we need a religious motto is beyond me.

    • WallofSleep

      I prefer the “original” original: “Mind Your Business”.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fugio_Cent

      Using that again would be a great way to stick it to the god-botherers

      • Datrebor

        This coin was reportedly designed by Benjamin Franklin; as a reminder to
        its holders, he put at its bottom the message, “Mind Your Business”.
        The image and the words form a rebus meaning that time flies, do your
        work.Given Franklin’s history publishing aphorisms, it may have been
        intended to mean both monetary and social business.

    • cicada

      That’s one of those things that drives me crazy (and not only when it comes to religion).

      When on the one hand all of the arguments in legal or formal forums will claim that the use of a word like ‘God’ or ‘Creator’ is unspecific, general, ceremonial, whatever. But when the argument comes up almost all ordinary people will point to those words as proof of Christianity’s recognized position in government and roll their eyes at any suggestion that it could mean anything but the Christian god.

      • Datrebor

        It could just be who you are talking to as to what it means? To those that live in specific lines or to remove any doubt then it could be vauge. To others that their lives are not so strick they just understand.

  • http://skepticsplay.blogspot.com/ trivialknot

    I was previously under the impression that printing “In God we trust” on US money didn’t directly hurt anyone. I had, however, neglected to consider the wellbeing of numismatists who have been collecting coin sets since before they had the motto. I regret my prior ignorance.

    • GCT

      When the government preferences one religion over others or religion in general over non-religion, it directly hurts all of us.

  • busterggi

    “[T]he American dollar travels all over the world, into every country of the world, and frequently gets behind the Iron Curtain”
    There is no more Iron Curtain but the government now in its place is a tool of the Eastern Orthodox Church – swapped one authoritarian regime for another.

  • Stephen Thompson

    On one hand, putting “In God We Trust” on money is sticking religion where it doesn’t belong, but on the other hand, I think it likely hard currency won’t survive this century. Everything will be done electronically, and the problem will just go away. So, in general, I support their lawsuit, but I can’t help but wonder if the time and energy could be better spent on bigger issues.

  • RTH

    It’s useful in this type of lawsuit to outline different ways in which a party may have been harmed, including novel ones that a court hasn’t previously ruled against. These arguments might seem ridiculous to a non-lawyer, but large changes in U.S. constitutional law have been based on ridiculous arguments. (See Wickard v. Filburn.) A court that was inclined to declare the printing of the theistic motto on money unconstitutional would need some example of harm on which to base their opinion.

    • fsm

      I think the only reason they need is the Bill of Rights. I believe that our founding fathers made it quite clear that religion and politics do not mix. I personally am in favor of banning politicians from even disclosing their religion let alone be allowed to print it on OUR money.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/GodVlogger?feature=mhee GodVlogger (on YouTube)

    Meanwhile, for some easy activism….

    I recommend putting a big red circle around “God” and a red slash through God.

    If even 10% of atheists did this to half our currency, before long almost everyone would have some currency with the offending “god” crossed out.

    Here’s a YouTube video I did on this a few months ago:
    http://youtu.be/EmdQr2mWCnw

    • WallofSleep

      IIRC, Jewish tradition forbids writing down the name of god in any way, shape, or form, in order to prevent any kind of defacement of it.

      • DavidMHart

        Which leads to the ironic result that some people effectively pre-deface it by writing “G-d” or some such.

  • Bob Becker

    Guys, ya gotta pick your fights. Taking on a purely symbolic sure loser on at least partially laughable grounds makes no sense to me.

    • Good and Godless

      How about our government prints “There Is No God” on half the money and we use whatever fallout occurs at that act to determine which side is the most laughable.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=574401415 Denis Freeland

    In what way is a violation of the US Constitution “frivolous” ?

    The argument used in Aronow and since, is that the wording is “ceremonial”. That was an OPINION provided by the court, and not supported by evidence (what happened to hearsay) ?

    Newdow now has evidence from the lawmakers who introduced the legislation, from the oliticians who have since cited the religious purpose of the usage, AND from a national survey that overwhelmingly demonstrated the NON secular purpose.

    Are you suggesting that the Supreme Court would willingly ignore “actual” evidence, and allow “hearsay” to be the arbiter ?

    If the court bases the decision upon actual evidence, I can see only one outcome, although I acknowledge that Scalia will do his utmost to avoid it.

  • MisterMaury

    I think they are approaching this the wrong way. They need to have an American born Hindu sue the government to demand equal representation… e.g. “In GODS we trust”.

    Or better yet have a Muslim insist the government put “In ALLAH we trust” on money. That would have people up in arms! Ha!

    If the government denies their request, how can the government then claim they are not promoting one religion over another?

    • Good and Godless

      We are owed 60 years of “There Are No Gods” to return to neutral.

      • Reginald Selkirk

        Yes. Newdow should request that under “equal protection” clause and claim that the currency is obviously an open forum.

  • MisterMaury

    E Pluribus Unum = Unification
    In God We Trust = Division

    • Datrebor

      In God We Trust = Stength and Unity through Faith

      http://www.treasury.gov/about/education/Pages/in-god-we-trust.aspx

      As a result, Secretary Chase instructed James Pollock, Director of the Mint at Philadelphia, to prepare a motto, in a letter dated November 20, 1861:

      Dear
      Sir: No nation can be strong except in the strength of God, or safe
      except in His defense. The trust of our people in God should be declared
      on our national coins.

      You will cause a device to be prepared
      without unnecessary delay with a motto expressing in the fewest and
      tersest words possible this national recognition.

      • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

        Faith = Pretending to know things that you don’t.

        • Datrebor

          Faith = Belief in that which can not be seen.

          • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

            Or in the (hopefully) immortal words of Tim Minchin:

            Faith is the denial of observation so that belief can be preserved.

            • Datrebor

              Faith is confidence or trust in a person, thing, deity, or in the doctrines or teachings of a religion or view (e.g. having strong political faith). It can also be belief that is not based on proof.[1] The word faith is often used as a substitute for hope, trust or belief.

              In religion, faith often involves accepting claims about the
              character of a deity, nature, or the universe. While some have argued that faith is opposed to reason, proponents of faith argue that the proper domain of faith concerns questions which cannot be settled by evidence.

              • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                Oh nonono. You don’t get to conflate the two meanings of faith that way. Fideist thinking is inescapable- we do all ‘have trust’ in some things, but usually that is also based on some facts or evidence (I trust my doctor to give me good medical advice because ze’s been to school and given good advice in the past, I trust my friend to pick me up when my car dies because ze said ze would and has done so in the past, I trust the sun will rise in the East tomorrow because it always has and because of how the Earth’s orbit/rotation works, etc). Those are all examples of fideist thinking, or having faith in things, but they are not the same as religious faith. This sort of faith is not opposed to reason.

                Religious faith is believing in something, without any evidence or in the face of contrary evidence. It involves “having faith” in things that make no sense, break rules of the universe that have been heavily substantiated, are illogical, are impossible, and/or are plain untestable. Religious faith is entirely opposed to reason.

                The full line I quoted above was “Science adjusts its views based on what’s observed. Faith is the denial of observation so that belief can be preserved.” If you deny the evidence before your eyes in order to preserve a belief, you are, in fact, telling reason to go piss off.

                • Datrebor

                  This was from:
                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faith

                  So I wasn’t the one that combined the two ideas.

                  C. Stephen Evans advances the discussion considerably in a recent book entitled Faith Beyond Reason. He argues that we should distinguish irrational fideism from what he calls responsible fideism.

                  Irrational fideism denies that we can or should think rationally or logically about matters of faith. Any attempt to give a reasoned account of the Christian faith is dismissed as illegitimate or impossible or both.

                  Responsible fideism offers (paradoxical as it may sound) a reasoned case for viewing faith as justified even though what it believes is above, beyond, or in some sense against reason. Evans even describes this position as rational fideism, a term that neatly contrasts this approach with irrational forms of fideism.

                  http://io9.com/5528758/ask-a-physicist-why-believe-in-dark-matter

                  All we know with high certainty about Dark Matter is spelled out in the name. It doesn’t have any electrical charge (light interacts strongly with charged particles, so it’d be easy to spot), and it isn’t made of atoms, because those are also relatively easy to see. The reason that
                  some people are so dismissive of Dark Matter is that they’re focusing on 90-year-old arguments. They are judgy because a) We’ve never detected a Dark Matter particle, and b) We’re not even really sure what it is.

                  They believed in “Dark Matter” before there was any evidence and before they even knew what it was Faith they would find it. They Believed it with out proof.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Actually, they didn’t believe it without proof. They believed it was there because the math of how things work suggested it had to be there. The mathematics and theories could have been wrong, but they explained so many things so well that physicists were reluctant to come to that conclusion. Instead they posited a sort of Dark Matter that would explain the anomalous findings. We haven’t found a better explanation, but there’s plenty of people not wedded to the idea of dark matter either, and we’re still looking to measure it/prove it exists. If we find something else, the people who currently believe dark matter is out there will change their minds.

                  That is the opposite of religious faith; it is faith based on evidence that is amenable to alteration based on evidence, not faith that denies the evidence.

                • Datrebor

                  Actually, it was Astrophysicists hypothesized dark matter due to discrepancies between
                  the mass of large astronomical objects determined from their
                  gravitational effects and the mass calculated from the “luminous matter”
                  they contain: stars, gas, and dust.

                  Scientist see evidence and believe its dark matter. There also have been studies that have proved events in the Bible are true and did happen. If parts are true then its theorized that other parts are true as well till proven otherwise. Its not just blind faith for religion either.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Which events in the Bible, precisely? And given that many events in the Bible have clearly not happened, why trust that any of them are true? It only takes one story being wrong to show that the whole thing is not inerrant or a trustworthy source.

                  Just to get you started, things that did not happen in the Bible include: Eden and Adam and Eve story, the Great Flood, Israelites wandering in the desert for 40 years, and Jesus’s death causing a zombie plague (Jesus’ mere existence is in dispute, actually). Since those are pretty major parts, why should we trust what it has to say on much of anything?

  • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

    Me (also a non-lawyer) agrees with you. That second bullet point will get the case laughed out of court. Newdow knows better than this. He is a really smart guy and a inspiration to hear speak. I hope he has some sort of master plan in the works because this case is not going to cut it.

  • DougI

    While I support Newdow I don’t think there will be a chance in Alabama that it’ll pass the Supreme Court. We know there are some justices on the bench that could give a rat’s ass about what the Constitution says.

  • Lord Incaros

    I apologize if this sounds rude, but I say it IS frivolous and pointless. I mean, do people even READ money (not counting the numbers). Besides, doing something like that could cause a loooot of trouble. They might end up having to recall the money all ready out there, and that would cost a lot of time and man power. There are bigger problems out there to tackle, that require a lot less man power then changing what is written on our money. Then again, they could just ask or sign a petition for the government to make future printings of paper money and minting of future coins to be without in god we trust. Which ironically would cause money with in god we trust to become more valuable as collectors items.

    • allein

      I don’t think they would have to recall the money; just start printing new money without it. They’ve redesigned currency in the past and they don’t take back the old ones; they just issue new and eventually the old stuff works its way out of circulation. In another 50 years a “God” bill might actually be worth something to collectors. (I do agree this is rather a pointless suit, though. As much as I’d like to see the motto gone, and I think it needs to be challenged from time to time, if only to keep people on their toes, this suit is unlikely to get anywhere and the “damages” quoted in this post, at least, are silly. I don’t look that closely at the cash in my pocket. It has its practical purpose and that’s about all it is to me.)

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

      As allein notes, the solution would just be to remote the offending text in future printings. No more effort than the current recycling and replacement. The half-life of a $1 bill in circulation is about 18 months (similar for $10, 2 years for $20, 3.8 years for $5, higher for $2, $50, and $100 since they aren’t exchanged as often), so change-over is fairly rapid.

      I have insufficient data to have a meaningful opinion about the case.

      • allein

        OT, but I find it interesting that on the rare occasions people refer to me by name in response to a comment, they usually capitalize the A, even though I don’t. So the fact that you didn’t caught my attention. :)

        • Reginald Selkirk

          Cut and paste is such a simple concept.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

          I try to type names exactly as they are written. It avoids ambiguity – like the time I was in a class with four other Michaels.

          • allein

            I used to work in a store that I swear had a policy of having 4 Daves and 3 Adams on staff at all times, and also had several women whose names included the sound “-leen,” which could could get confusing when someone paged one of us on the loudspeaker.

  • Rain

    Those all sound like awkward attempts to establish “locus standi”, or “standing”. I am not a lawyer. But he lost other cases because he didn’t have sufficient “standing”. That sounds like what they’re are trying to establish.

    [Benjamin Dreidel] has personally been unwillingly forced to confront the “In God We Trust” verbiage

    Sounds pretty dreadful. Possibly try garlic or maybe make the sign of a cross with your fingers to ward it off.

    • 3lemenope

      Quite so. A particularized ‘injury in fact’ must be demonstrated in order to assert standing in most cases.

    • Artor

      A sharpie marker works great!

  • In Reason I Trust

    Take a sharpie and draw a line thru IGWT. Ive done it for years.

    • 3lemenope

      An old college friend of mine used to do that, accompanied by saying “There’s graffiti on my money, but I’m fixing it!”

  • Artor

    I think a better tack might be to compile all the court cases and public speeches in which someone uses the IGWT phrase to “prove,” that we are an Xtian nation, and to justify some unconstitutional, theocratic bill. This would demonstrate better the very real harm having this noxious falsehood printed on our legal tender.

    • Mackinz

      I could get behind this, but I have a feeling it would not really stand up as evidence in court as much as I want it to.

    • vincent findley

      It makes your stomach turn and your head ache, yet you still spend it!

      • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

        Well, I know if the money said “In Gods We Trust” you’d have to choose between starving and going to Hell. But for us, we’re not doing to hell, so it’s a headache or make my kid starve.

        But I guess if not making my kid starve is something for you to gloat over, gloat away. I’m sure your God is chortling right along with you.

        • Datrebor

          Why would you have to choose between one or the other? You don’th even have to touch money use plastic. Besides how out this on the back of the 1 dollar bill?
          Annuit Coeptis: He (God) has favored our undertakings
          “NOVUS ORDO SECLORUM” meaning “New Order of the Ages,” that some say is for the ‘New World Order’ and the all seeing eye this does not bother you but those 4 little words gives you a headache.

          • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

            I can’t use plastic everywhere (especially if I don’t feel like paying a ‘convenience fee’ for it).

            The headache is figurative.

            You seem to be a lot more upset by the idea of the motto being removed than I am about the motto being there.

            • Datrebor

              Have you been watching the news? The “Freedom From Religion” and the ACLU has been threatening to sue different schools in many states for having prayer at games (on banners), before class, after school activities(clubs). They have attacked public building that have christian icons or nativities. I’ve seen in other countries that Christians have been attack and told to convert or die.

              Not sure where your talking about convenience fees other then an ATM or at a casino to get cash for a tournament?

              • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                threatening to sue different schools

                You’ve confused a ‘war on your religion’ with ‘not always getting everything you want’.

                I am happy that you haven’t made the mistake of including private (even in public space) displays of religion. You seem to understand that Citizens’ Christianity isn’t under attack. Government endorsement of Christianity is being actively opposed.

                Oh, wait a minute. What was that about the ‘after school activities’? Citation on that one?

                I’ve seen in other countries that Christians have been attack and told to convert or die.

                Ya, welcome to the club. That happens to atheists too. Atheists are probably generally at greater risk, although perhaps not the same absolute numbers since the numbers are smaller to start with.

                Not sure where your talking about convenience fees other then an ATM or at a casino to get cash for a tournament?

                Gas stations mostly. Gas is about the only thing I buy with cash that doesn’t come out of a vending machine. It used to be some businesses would give you a discount if you paid cash for large ticket items, but the CC companies have mostly done away with that.

      • Artor

        Pollution makes my eyes sting & my lungs full of phlegm, but I still breathe it. What’s your point?

        • Kathy

          He has way to much time on his hands.

        • Datrebor

          If you don’t like then use plastic. For your ‘polution makes my eyse sting & lungs full of phlegm’ but you still polute or breath with out a gas mask. If it bothers you then why use it. Its been on some form of money sense 1864 a 2 cent coin.

      • DavidMHart

        I don’t think anyone’s complaining about stomach pains here; what is being complained about is the unfairness of having to use money that makes a manifestly false statement (not everybody trusts in a god) and one which privileges the religious majority. Just imagine how you would feel if every bank note you had said ‘there are no gods’ on it. Or if they all said ‘In the name of Allah, the most compassionate, the most merciful’. Sure, that wouldn’t give you a headache, but you’d think it unfair.

        Well, once you fully think through and understand why it would be unfair to you to have either of those phrases on the currency, you will understand why it is unfair to non-religious, and indeed polytheistic Americans, to have the current motto.

        • Datrebor

          I think that is a bigger asumption then we believe in God. That is what freedom OF Religion is. Just because you see “In God we Trust” does not mean you have to agree to it or believe it. You can choose to ignore it but its not freedom to prevent anyone else to see just because you don’t like it. Actually ” In God we Trust” Works both ways. If you believe in God the Father then it means that but if you believe that Money is your God then ” In Money(God) We Trust” would work for that too.

          • DavidMHart

            That’s pretty disingenuous. You know full well that nobody worships money as a supernatural, universe-creating personal being (even if some people have an unhealthy obsession with it).
            If there are people for whom money is their god, it is true only in a very tenuous, metaphorical sense, and if the motto had been intended to be that all-encompassing, why didn’t it go ‘In whatever we trust in, we trust’?

            The motto was clearly intended to be taken as a theistic god, with a very clear ‘Pick the Biblical one’ hint behind it, given the circumstances, so such language-lawyering will not wash.

            And even if there were people like that, that still doesn’t make it right by the people who do not believe in any gods, or who believe in several. The motto was clearly intended to give a government seal of approval to monotheism, and in fact non-believers do sometimes get stick from the religious, saying things like ‘if you don’t believe in god, you shouldn’t be using the currency that say you do’. This is exactly the sort of blurring-the-line between church and state that the 1st amendment ought to be preventing. Is it outright persecution? No, of course not. But it is a subtle implication of second-class citizenship for those who don not trust in any gods.

            So, do you actually understand why a currency that invoked a non-Christian god, or asserted the non-existence of all gods would be unfair? Or would you be perfectly okay with that?

            • Datrebor

              “That’s pretty disingenuous. You know full well that nobody worships money as a supernatural, universe-creating personal being (even if some people have an unhealthy obsession with it).”

              Pretty big word. People worship money but not as a supernatural being but as an all life consuming means to an end. They ignore family and friends to the almighty dollar. Its an old saying.

              I said people can take it that way or in what ever way makes them happy and leave the motto alone.

              The 1st amendment does not prevent this and ought not to prevent its also freedom of speech. Does implication of second-hand citizenship include the majority of scientist that do not believe in any gods? How does 4 words that you don’t believe in classify citizenship? That is Freedom OF Religion you don’t have to believe those 4 words or that one word. If it was another motto that has been suggested that its an Illuminati saying “Novus Ordo Seclorum” The New World Order? Or how about Annuit cœptis? Latin
              He (God) has favored our undertakings: a motto on the reverse of the great seal of the U.S.

              • DavidMHart

                “People worship money but not as a supernatural being but as an all life consuming means to an end. “

                The people who ‘worship’ money in the sense you are talking about do not call it ‘god’, so the slogan doesn’t even apply to them. If it did, it would read “in money we trust”.

                “I said people can take it that way or in what ever way makes them happy and leave the motto alone.

                As you are well aware, there are lots of people for whom there is no way of taking the motto that makes them happy. And if you genuinely think it is so unimportant, why are you here so doggedly defending it? If you genuinely thought that the motto on the currency was of the utmost inconsequentiality, you’d be perfectly happy for those who did object to it to try to get it changed, since it would make no difference to you.

                “The 1st amendment does not prevent this and ought not to prevent its also freedom of speech.”

                I have literally lost count of the number of times I’ve had to explain to you that freedom of speech is a right afforded to private citizens acting in their capacity as private citizens. It is emphatically not a right that is extended to the government, including people who are employed by the goverment while acting in their official capacity as government employees. It’s very unlikely anyone could be stupid enough to be unable to understand that and yet smart enough to type in coherent English on a computer, so the only reasonable assumption is that you are being dishonest: pretending to be unable to understand that. Please stop doing that; it doesn’t make you look good.

                “Does implication of second-hand citizenship include the majority of scientist that do not believe in any gods?

                I’m not quite sure what you’re talking about here – for one thing, there is no requirement that you repudiate gods in order to be accepted as a top-tier scientist in the USA (though the fact is that the higher one rises in the fields in which we most strongly set out to overcome our biases and examine reality honestly, the less likely one is to think that the universe has a supernatural being behind it – that really ought to worry you more than it does).

                But it sounds to me like you just don’t quite get the concept of second-class citizenship. It is not necessarily an official thing, backed up by explicit laws, such as when women were treated as second-class citizens by being denied the vote, or when black people were treated as second-class citizens under the Jim Crow laws.

                It can be a de-facto thing – where members of a particular demographic are denied the full panoply of rights by less visible means. For instance, black people in the USA are more likely to be stopped and searched by the police, more likely to be arrested for any given crime, and, once put on trial, more likely to go to prison than white people who have committed the same crime, and, when sentence is handed down, more likely to get a longer time in prison than white people who are sentenced to prison for the same crime. The criminal justice system is systemically racist without there being any laws on the books that officially declare that black people should be subject to greater suspicion, higher arrest rates, higher imprisoment rates and longer sentences than white people. The effect of unspoken racial bias among the police, and among juries, is enough to do the work without there needing to be any explicitly racist legislation.

                That is second-class citizenship in action. Now, for sure, atheists as a class are not subject to that level of outrageous mistreatment (for one thing they are a lot harder to profile in the first place). But is your sense of compassion genuinely so broken that you are unable to understand how it would feel unfair if the government prints a phrase with the word ‘we’ in it that very obviously excludes you?

                And I’ll happily agree that ideally ‘Annuit coeptis’ shouldn’t be there either, but since relatively few people speak Latin, there’s less obvious injustice to it. And if I’m being pedantic, in the Latin it doesn’t actually say who or what has ‘favoured our undertakings’ – ‘annuit’ just means (He, she or it) has favoured – so there is far greater scope for people to mentally fill in whatever person or thing they want than there is in the English motto that explicitly says ‘God’.

                • Datrebor

                  No the slogan fits as they treat money as their God. They spend their time and energy to obtain it, thinking that is what will give them the life they want.

                  Government employees still have the 1st amendment rights IF they are speaking as a private citizen, but does that mean they have to wait till they are off the clock(so to speak) to have their speech protected?

                  As Jim Webb wrote when still Secretary of the Navy, “A citizen does not give up his First Amendment right to free speech when he puts on a military uniform, with small exceptions.”

                  It maybe limited but they still have their 1st amendment rights even citizens speaking as private citizens have a limited rights of free speech.

                  So its just that one word that has you feeling bad or second class. Because YOU don’t believe in God you feel left out? Now isn’t that your choice not to believe? No one in any Government or private organization had anything to do with your belief. Its not that your left out of anything but you chose not to join in. How about if its said
                  IN God Trust? But then the word Some could be added as in In God Some Trust.

                  If there was a reason, besides some don’t like it, for change then fine. I don’t see any reason to change it.

                • DavidMHart

                  “No the slogan fits as they treat money as their God.”

                  Only if you really really stretch the ordinary understanding of the word ‘God’. Which you’re entitled to do, but please stop pretending that everyone does. And in particular, stop pretending that a court of law, in interpreting the phrase, would interpret it the idiosyncratic way that you do. Also stop pretending that that interpretation is anything like what the people who put the motto on the currency had in mind. You have to go to a great deal of dishonesty in order to claim that what you’re saying would be an obvious and natural interpretation of the phrase – why not just let it go and accept that when the currency says ‘God’, it means what most people in the USA mean when they say ‘God’?

                  “Government employees still have the 1st amendment rights IF they are
                  speaking as a private citizen, but does that mean they have to wait till
                  they are off the clock(so to speak) to have their speech protected?”

                  You are simply no longer talking about the same thing: the subject is government employees deciding what the motto on the official currency of the USA is to say. There is simply not a chance that anyone sane could interpret that as simply exercising one’s free speech rights as a citizen, while wearing a uniform. You are not that stupid. Please stop pretending to be.

                  “No one in any Government or private organization had anything to do with
                  your belief. Its not that your left out of anything but you chose not to join in.”

                  Firstly, you know full well that that is untrue – we do not consciously choose our beliefs – we are led to them by our upbringing and the evidence. I can no more decide to believe that the Biblical god is real based on present evidence, than you could decide to believe that vampires are real on present evidence. Unless you are neurologically extremely atypical, that is true no matter how convenient it would be for you to believe in vampires – indeed, it would be true even if people who believed in vampires became a majority and started to persecute those who don’t. That’s simply not how beliefs work. The best the bullying vampire-believers could do is get you to pretend to believe in vampires in order to stay out of trouble.

                  But to your broader point: people in the government have had a hand in putting on the currency a phrase which strongly implies that belief in a god is the official position of the country that issues that currency … and, given the history of jurisprudence based on the First Amendment, that is clearly within the ambit of actions that violate the Establishment Clause. It is not as blatant as, say, Congress declaring that Shia Islam, or Roman Catholicism, will henceforth be the official religion of the USA. But it is unquestionably on that spectrum when it says ‘we’ – presumably intended to include all US citizens, when plainly not all US citizens believe in any gods.

                  The point is not that it makes a statement which is manifestly untrue (though it does). The point is not that it makes a statement which annoys some people (though it does). The point is that it makes a statement that violates the constitutional rights of some citizens not to have the government appear to endorse a religious viewpoint that they disagree with.

                  If it said something else that was wrong and that annoyed some people, say for example “English we speak”, or “We prefer red to green”, that wouldn’t be a constitutional problem – there is no constitutional provision that bans the USA from adopting an official language or an official favourite colour. Though it would be unfair to US citizens who don’t speak English, or who like green better than red, it wouldn’t be violating a constitutional right that they have.

                  Which brings us to:

                  But then the word Some could be added as in In God Some Trust.

                  Yes. If you’re going to mention a god on your currency, this is exactly the way you should be doing it – in a way that acknowledges the truth that only some people believe in one, and that does not suggest that the government approves of them more than it approves of those that don’t. Of course, such a statement would be about as silly as a motto that said “Some of us are heterosexual” or that said “some of us are right-handed”. But better to have a motto that is silly than one that is discriminatory.

                  “If there was a reason, besides some don’t like it, for change then fine. I don’t see any reason to change it.”

                  Well, I’ve done my best to explain to you why the motto is not merely disliked, but actively in violation of the spirit of religious neutrality in the Constitution. Though I must say that, ethically if not legally, the fact that quite a lot of people don’t like it ought to be a reasons for changing it. If the motto disappeared entirely, people who believe in a god would not be harmed by that in any way – and it would be the only way to ensure that everyone regardless of their religious belief or non-belief, felt like the government regarded them as equal citizens. If you think that that is unimportant, or if you’d actively prefer to keep the current motto with its implication of the government preferring monotheism over non-theism, then your Christian privilege has badly warped your sense of fairness and compassion.

                  So I will ask you a question, and it’s one that I’ve asked you before, but which you avoided. If you are genuinely arguing in good faith, and concerned about fairness rather than preserving your privilege I expect you to answer this honestly:

                  If the currency said “In the name of Allah, and of his prophet Muhammad”, or if it said “In no gods we trust” would you genuinely see that as not a problem – would the mere fact that you might not like it appear to you an insufficient reason for changing it?

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  Next time this comes up, I think I’m just going to link to this.

  • LadyAgnostic

    Roosevelt commissioned the beautiful Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle and specifically requested that god NOT be on the coin–it was so controversial to omit god, the coin didn’t last long. But today it’s one of the most valuable coins around :)

    • ProfessorPedal

      That’s really not a fair explanation as to why the coin didn’t last long – and 1907-1933 is pretty good. By 1916 the bullion value was above face value and they were rare in circulation. They really weren’t use as a coin in everyday commerce. Any gold coin with that weight is worth a great deal, of course, and the US government melted their reserves in 1933.

      • LadyAgnostic

        Professor, the god-free coin did not last long…Congress moved to add “In God We Trust” in 1908, the year after the original coin was issued.

  • TheG

    If it doesn’t particularly endorse a religion, but rather a sense of patriotism or character, then there is a 14th Amendment problem in the implication that non-religious folk are unpatriotic or lack character. The government isn’t in the business of pronouncing judgement on its law abiding citizens

  • Keulan

    Having “In God We Trust” on our money is unconstitutional, but I doubt this case will be successful. It would be great if they won and that phrase was removed. Until that phrase is off the money I will continue to cross it out on every bill that I use.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Datrebor Robert Jenkins

      How is it “Unconstitutional”? There is nothing in it that says we can’t support any one denomination on of Christianity we want to.

      • DavidMHart

        True. But there is something in the constitution that says the government (including the part of the government that decides the design of the currency) can’t endorse any one religion over any other religion, or religion in general over non-religion or vice versa.

        The only way to make sure the government is not violating the establishment clause is to not have a motto on the currency endorsing belief in gods, and the only way to make sure the government is not violating the free exercise clause is to not have a motto disparaging the practice of religion – i.e. for the currency not to mention gods at all.

        • Datrebor

          What? Where in the constitution that says the government can’t endorse any one religion over another? Our Government can endorse a religion it just can’t make laws about it. The thing is banning religious speech and statues from any public place is making a law regarding religion.
          Endorsing is not establishing Christianity is well established. Just because all religions are not endorsed does not mean we are violating the free exercise we are a Christian nation. Toleration means accept not endorse.

          • DavidMHart

            “Where in the constitution that says the government can’t endorse any one religion over another?”

            I’ll grant you that the bare text of the 1st Amendment is very sketchy on what ‘establish’ actually means. But if you go and read through that article, you’ll get to this quote from Justice Hugo Black in Everson vs. Board of Education:

            The “establishment of religion” clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion to another … in the words of Jefferson, the [First Amendment] clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect ‘a wall of separation between church and State’ … That wall must be kept high and impregnable. We could not approve the slightest breach.” [my emphasis]

            That is to say, endorsing one religion over others (as the motto appears to do by endorsing monotheism over polytheism and non-religion) or endorsing religion in general (which the motto arguably does even if it is seen as ‘ceremonial deism’, explicitly does come within the meaning of ‘establishment of religion’, as decided by the court that was explicitly set up to interpret the Constitution.

            “Endorsing is not establishing Christianity is well established.”

            Citation needed.

            “we are a Christian nation.”

            No, the USA is a secular nation (at least in theory, and mostly in practice apart from anomalies like the currency motto) which happens to have a Christian majority (as evidenced by the fact that nowhere in the Constitution or its jurisprudence does it say that Christianity is the religion of the USA). The USA is no more a Christian nation than it is a white nation, a heterosexual nation or a right-handed nation – the majority does not determine the position for everyone.

            At least reassure me that you understand the difference between a country being officially Christian, and simply having a Christian majority.

  • Mario Strada

    I can already hear the “Fox and Friends” morons ridiculing the affidavits of the numismatics plaintiffs.
    I would love for it to work, but if the testimonials sound ridiculous to us, you can just imagine what the other side will make of them.

  • leftoflarry

    This is a publicity stunt for the FFRF to gain more membership. FFRF is known for filing knowingly bad lawsuits, AND setting bad precedent. Either way, we know how this is going to end up and it is indeed frivolous and a waste of everyone’s time and money.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Datrebor Robert Jenkins

      They attack schools from other states that they are not even in. Schools that the majority does not have any problems but they do. They think that there is such a thing as ‘Freedom From Religion’ where its ‘Freedom OF Religion’ just because a person does not want to see anything Religious does not menat it can’t be posted.

      • DavidMHart

        Freedom of religion necessarily entails freedom from religion in the sense it is truly meant – i.e. having the option of not taking part in a religion. They are not trying to engineer a society where religion is kept out of public view by force of law; they are simply trying to engineer a society where, in line with the constitution, religion is fully disentangled from all branches of government – i.e. where religion is entirely a matter for people in their personal capacity as citizens, and never as officials.

        • Datrebor

          Yes people have the right not to believe or talk about religion but not to see it out in public or in schools. Just because the person next to you prays and you don’t want to or lead a school body in prayer and you don’t want to join in does not mean that person can’t. They are the removeal of anything religious from public buildings is doing just that. The thing is all branches of Government are made up of People and People have the right to share their belief with others and we are the others. Even as officials they are still people with the same rights. We came to this country and became a independent country because of Freedom and part of that freedom is for our Government to observe one religion with out having to observe any others. Everyone from a citizen to the president has the right to observe, attend, show, and share their religion.

          • DavidMHart

            “The thing is all branches of Government are made up of People and People have the right to share their belief with others”

            This is disingenuous. You know that a person’s legal duties when they are acting in their capacity as a government official are different, and (usually) more restrictive than when they are acting off the clock in their personal capacity as a citizen. A school principal or a local governor can proselytize all they want in their free time for their own church, mosque or gurdwara – they can be as loud, fanatical and preachy in public as they like within the limits of the law governing private individuals. But once they put the uniform on and turn up for their job, they cease to be merely an individual, and, for the duration of their working hours, they are subject to a temporary restriction of their normal freedom of speech so that they do not give the impression that the government which is paying their wage right this moment favours their particular holy house.

            You may be familiar with the way that you can be as vocally bigoted against racial minorities or against women as you like (provided you are not inciting violence), on your own time as a citizen, but once you open your doors to the public as a business person, you cannot refuse service to someone on the basis of their sex or the colour of their skin, however much you may personally wish to. Well, this is somewhat analogous. Every government employee has the same rights to believe, preach and promote whatever religion they want in their free time, but not during their working hours on the taxpayer’s dollar.

            “We came to this country and became a independent country because of
            Freedom and part of that freedom is for our Government to observe one
            religion with out having to observe any others. “

            You will need to be clear about who the ‘we’ is. Is it the Virginia colonists who set up the first tobacco plantations? They came to make money by exploiting impoverished labourers who undertook the dangerous sea crossing as indentured servants – not quite slavery, but something like a fixed-term version of it. Or is it the Puritans who set up the New England colonies? They came to set up societies that were at least as rigidly theocratic as the one they had left, except that it would be them in charge, and members of other denominations who would have to accept second-class citizen status. Or is it the Barbadian slave owners who set up the plantations of the Deep South? The sense in which they didn’t come ‘because of freedom’ is obvious.

            (I would strongly recommend, by the way, that you check out Colin Woodard’s book American Nations, which looks at how the wildly different cultures and values of the disparate groups of European colonists that first settled what was to become the USA still impact on the various regions of the country today. But that is a sidetrack.)

            The claim that the Government is free to observe one religion while not obseving others is a claim that many religious people in the USA today very much wish were true, but which is flatly at odds with the longstanding principle of separation of church and state, which was inspired precisely by the fact that many of the different colonies had established churches that were rival to the established churches of other colonies – Catholic Maryland, Puritan New England, and others – and Thomas Jefferson saw that the only way to avoid religious conflict in the New World that would rival the centuries of bloodshed that Europe was just emerging from was to have, as he put it, a wall of separation between church and state.

            So if you’re going to claim that the Founding Fathers intended the USA to be an officially Christian country, despite not once declaring it in the constitution, and despite several of them expressly saying that the purpose of the 1st Amendment was to ensure that the USA would be officially neutral with regard to religion, then I’m afraid you’re going to need to produce some very good evidence before we should take that seriously.

  • UnderINK

    The Supreme Court needs to ask itself, for any Secular issue, “Would we accept the phrase in a school’s name?” . . . Would we accept having a school named “In God We Trust High School”? No, probably not. There would be a public outcry from Atheists, Secularists, and other religious people who are not Christian (God with a capital G is the proper name of the Christian god, not a nod to ‘traditional deism’), and it would be removed. If it can’t be in a school’s title, or plastered up on the entrance of a school building, then it doesn’t belong on our money or anywhere else public either. They shouldn’t have to whine about damages or ask for money. It’s just plainly unconstitutional and it doesn’t matter who it damages.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Datrebor Robert Jenkins

      I would not assume that we would not accept a school’s name of “In God We Trust” its no worse then some of the other names.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    The appendix to the case even includes this graphic, showing the
    dramatic increase in mentions of the word “religion” in the
    Congressional Record from 1949 – 1959:

    That is a suspiciously short timeline for such a graph.

    It is quite obvious that the national motto and the slogan on coinage and currency “In
    God We Trust” has nothing whatsoever to do with the establishment of
    religion. Its use is of a patriotic or ceremonial character and bears no
    true resemblance to a governmental sponsorship of a religious exercise.

    This could be answered with a few hundred pages of citations of Christians citing the slogan on the money, and in the pledge, as evidence that the USA is indeed a Christian nation. It’s remarkable that something so “obvious” is so frequently not seen.

  • Bdole

    For godssake won’t someone think of the numismatists!

    ooom/ooo

  • ProfessorPedal

    On a surface reading, I’m curious about the need to mention mid-20th century god-mentioning. It’s been on our coins since 1864, put there by (I think) the director of the Mint on the advice of a pastor in the depths of the Civil War. Fun fact: it was the 2-cent coin (minted for, I think, nine years) that was the first to have the motto.

    • http://www.facebook.com/derek.martin.1994 Derek Martin

      It was added in 1956. Every bill and coin minted prior to that (though most are out of circulation by now), did not have it. The same is true with “under god” in the pledge of allegiance, it was added in the 50s to fight the “godless” communists.

    • Reginald Selkirk

      It’s been on our coins since 1864

      You incorrectly imply that it has been present since that time. Please be less misleading in the future.

      • ProfessorPedal

        I disagree with your assertion that I’ve been misleading, and I argue that your dismissal reads as condescending and pedantic.

        1864 – FIrst appearance on coins (2-cent piece)

        1908 – On all coins since then (aside from the 1-cent piece, first included in 1909)

        The major discrepancy is between 1883 and 1938, when it was not on either the liberty or buffalo nickels.

        Regardless, the gap in the coins does not refute the point that this is not relevant to a mentioning of mid-century politics.

        For bills, the mid-century point is accurate.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    My inner atheist isn’t bothered so much as my inner grammar Nazi. It’s a blatant fact that not all Americans trust (let alone believe in the existence of) any gods. We might as well have “TEH UNITED STAITS UV AMERIKA” on the bills.

    • meekinheritance

      Amercia

  • pagansister

    Good luck with that endeavor. I’m not sure it will be any more successful than the attempt to take “under God” out of the Pledge. That is a recent insertion to the Pledge, in the 1950′s I think. If it can be put in, it should be able to be removed. Oh well.

  • http://twitter.com/TominousTone Thomas J. Lawson

    It helps to keep the United States as ironic as possible.

    I say go the other way…sue to make the motto: IN GOD(S) WE TRUST

    That would at least make it appear more inclusive.

    Seriously, though, we should all carry a stamp with a tiny “o” so that it reads:

    INoGOD WE TRUST

  • GaryC

    On my bills, I cross out ‘god’ and replace it with ‘reason’.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chad.boswell.104 Chad Boswell

    “A LAW passed by the 84th Congress (P.L. 84-140) and approved by the
    President on July 30, 1956, the President approved a Joint Resolution of
    the 84th Congress, declaring IN GOD WE TRUST the national motto of the
    United States. IN GOD WE TRUST was first used on paper money in 1957,
    when it appeared on the one-dollar silver certificate.”

    1st Amendment: “Congress shall make no LAW respecting an establishment of RELIGION, or
    prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of
    speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to
    assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    It is LAW that IN GOD WE TRUST is our national motto. That violates the 1st Amendment because it is establishing Religion, no matter what type. Any mention of GOD is a reference to Religion, no matter what argument anyone brings up.

    This is why it should be changed. Let’s not challenge to get it removed, let’s challenge to get it changed. Change the motto back to E PLURIBUS UNUM. That, I think is where people are getting it wrong.

    • vincent findley

      Keep in mind those 6 words after the COMMA!

      • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

        So is the declaration of monotheism not an infringement on the free exercise of Hinduism or Paganism?

    • http://www.facebook.com/Datrebor Robert Jenkins

      That was when ‘In God we trust’ was placed on paper money but not the first time it was placed on money. Coins had it back in 1864. It was place there because of an increased religious sentiment existing during the Civil War.

      The constitutionality of the modern national motto has been questioned with relationship to the separation of church and state outlined in the First Amendment. In 1970, in Aronow v. United States, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that the motto does not violate the First Amendment to the Constitution. The United States Supreme Court has not ruled on the issue.
      A similar phrase appears in the final stanza of The Star-Spangled Banner. Written in 1814 by Francis Scott Key (and later adopted as the U.S. national anthem on March 3, 1931 by US president Herbert Hoover), the song contains an early reference to a variation of the phrase: “And this be our motto: ‘In God is our trust.’”

      “E PLURIBUS UNUM” can mean people or Gods as there are and were many Gods worshiped. In fact some believed that in the early days it was not Got The Father but God Of My Father that each house had its own God and now there is ONE.

    • Datrebor

      Also its a motto that is religious and having a motto does not establish any religion.
      http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/establishment_clause
      This clause not only forbids the government from establishing an
      official religion, but also prohibits government actions that unduly
      favor one religion over another. It also prohibits the government from
      unduly preferring religion over non-religion, or non-religion over
      religion.
      So taking if off could also go aginst the establishment clause.

      • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

        “There is no God” would violate the establishment clause. Things don’t become constitutional via tradition. So it doesn’t matter how long it was there, if it was found unconstitutional, then removing it would not be a violation.

  • r.holmgren

    Newdow? Is that hemorrhoid still around? The plaintiffs sound like the kind of people who have heart palpitations and get diarrhoea when looking at two steal beams in the shape of a cross.

    thesauros-store.blogspot.com

  • Clarissa

    Welp, in God *I* don’t trust… but I’m getting a music degree so I won’t be handling a whole lot of money. ;)

  • Ben Dreidel

    The printing of “In God We Trust” on every piece of currency pounds home the message that We are those who trust in God. By implication, those who do not are not part of we. This division into us and them is far from a frivolous concern.

  • vincent findley

    Newdow failed 10 yrs ago and he will fail again.

    • vincent findley

      I didn’t think you Godless Stalinists would have anything to say to the above thread or leftoflarry or r.holmgren. you never do when you’re hit with reality.

      • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

        Maybe if there were any Godless Stalinists around they might have something to say. I noticed a bunch of schoolyard taunts along the lines of “yo Momma!” and decided to pass.

  • http://twitter.com/3_elaine elaine

    I have always objected to ‘in god we trust in court rooms. IF as I am an atheist and do not beleve in god then I would feel I could refuse to be tryed in that court as i would feel I was not having a fair trial . No god so I have no trust in him or she or it.

  • Anna

    Better idea, why don’t you leave our country, money, schools & religion instead. Just because you’re going to hell doesn’t mean you need to take the rest of us with you!!!

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      ‘our’?

  • http://www.facebook.com/barbara.haught.56 Barbara Haught

    I look at it more as destroying history, we are erasing the purposes that are for fathers created america for. But its all ok soon there wont be anyone to read history, we are all destroying each other, too much stress, broken famillies without moms or dads, to much hate for other peoples belifs or thoughts, too much threats……… Ill just enjoy today hope for tomorrow and smile at memories

    • Datrebor

      Don’t worry no matter what happens God is still in charge and its his plan. He knows what is happening now and will happen.

      • baal

        I’m so glad god knows what i’ll have for breakfast in 2054.

    • baal

      Not all four fathers were christian. Some were down right atheistic but many more were deists – i.e. not all that christian.

  • starr

    Christians every where need to stand up to our rights and beliefs and quit being bullied by those who choose not to believe. This country was and is founded on our belief in God and who are you to take that away. Calling all christian’s to take a stand for our rights and pray for these very lost people.

    • Datrebor

      We really need to push this. I feel we are in the last few seconds before tribulations and when Christ take all the believers away. Watch or read “Left Behind” to find out about it.

      • C.L. Honeycutt

        Revelations was metaphor for criticisms of the politics of the time, written in code to keep early Christians from being arrested for criticizing the emperor. It already happened, inasmuch as it COULD happen, something like 17 centuries ago. Really, this is common knowledge in Biblical scholarship.

        I read the first eight books in that series, by the way. (I had a lot of free time at work for a while.) Godawful terrible prose, authors inserted as protagonists, a profound lack of understanding of pacing, conversational technique, tension, and anything else to do with writing at all. The authors don’t even grasp basic technology, such as how a handgun works or what can be done with a cell phone. They’re garbage. There’s a reason why the Salvation Army and Goodwill bookshelves are clogged with those books.

        • Datrebor

          Ok you don’t like it and some agree with you but on amazon.com it has a 4/5 star rating.

          In 1998, the first four books of the series held the top four slots in the New York Times best-seller list simultaneously, despite the fact that the New York Times ‘ best-seller list does not take Protestant bookstore sales into account.[1] Book 10 debuted at number one on this list.[1]
          Total sales for the series have surpassed 65 million copies. Seven titles in the adult series have reached #1 on the bestseller lists for the New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly.

          • C.L. Honeycutt

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argumentum_ad_populum

            I could offer at least a dozen other counters on many fronts, but I’ll stick with one that has amused me for years:

            http://www.amazon.com/Joined-Mind-Body-Kathterran-Kenneth/dp/1419652893/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1378575893&sr=8-1&keywords=joined+in+mind+and+body

            THIS book has 4.4 stars on Amazon It had a 5 when I first ran across it. The writer actually has a much larger following than you’d expect, or did before his meltdown. He just posted the book online first, thus killing his sales among his readership.

            I won’t name another series I’ve read that was ridiculously successful despite lack of value, because I know people involved with it. The author got an eight-book deal based solely on fan fiction posted online, and fulfilled the contract with a story so bad that, not only is there no actual conflict in the story, but part of the PREMISE is that there is no actual conflict in the story… and I guessed this problem as soon as I read the prophecy referenced in the first chapter. The author now has about twenty internationally distributed novels to their name despite the fact that they can’t be bothered to insert the most basic element of storywriting into their work.

            They, like all hack writers, have two things going for them: luck and persistence. While the latter is admirable, neither is indicative of the value of what they produce. Surely you don’t argue that Twilight, with its 100 million-plus copies sold, is good because people buy it?

            (And in case you’re a Twilight fan or the point is missed, THIS movie has sold well over a hundred thousand hard copies at high prices despite the ease of Internet downloading:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pirates_%282005_film%29

            It relates to the point about a ready-made audience below.)

            Reviews and star rankings that are very high are untrustworthy unless the reviewer has a proven track record of insight, deconstruction and analysis. They usually indicate that the person isn’t qualified to spot flaws or is unwilling to admit them (reasons for that vary, but usually boil down to fanboyism or tribalism.) Writing is an extremely difficult art form, despite that huge numbers of people believe it is easy because anyone can scratch out a sentence. LaHaye and Jenkins didn’t succeed on merit; they succeeded because they had a ready-made audience and an untapped niche.

            • Datrebor

              Are you saying they had such a fan base already to buy 65 million copies? I’ve read the first book and on the second one and so far I am enjoying them. Also I enjoyed the first movie too.

              I have seen both sides as to movies that I loved and did not do well at the movies and ones I didn’t like that did well. Twilight is not one my favorites but is a good movie.

              Besides you don’t have to like them to learn that we are in the final seconds till the rapture and the tribulations that the Bible has foretold. Which was my point.

    • DavidMHart

      Nobody is taking away your rights. You are as free to believe in as many or as few gods as you always were. What people are trying to take away is your privilege – a situation whereby the government appears to endorse your religious beliefs over other people’s religious or non-religious beliefs.

      I understand that when you have had a privilege for a long time, it hurts when it is taken away. But please don’t confuse it with a right. Some of the individual European colonies that came together to form the USA may have been founded on a belief in God, but the USA itself was explicitly founded as a secular country, where religious and non-religious people would be equal citizens with the same rights before the law, and this lawsuit is just an attempt to cash that cheque, so to speak.

    • baal

      “Calling all christian’s to take a stand for our rights and pray for these very lost people.”

      Because if you’re going to find christians, it’ll be on the atheist blogs.

  • Jessica

    This nation was founded by God. I’ll be praying for all of you who fail to understand the importance creation of this great earth he has given you. The only difference between you and I is that I admit I don’t have all the answers, I know I can’t explain everything and my life is based on faith that God does exist, you base yours on the belief that he doesn’t exist. If you ask me, your beliefs require much more faith in nothingness.

    • DavidMHart

      This nation was founded by God.

      Citation needed. I always thought that the USA (as opposed to the various European colonies that came together to form the USA) was founded by these guys, non of whom are gods.

      Also,

      If you ask me, your beliefs require much more faith in nothingness.

      Seriously? No atheist that I’ve ever heard of has ‘faith in nothingness’. I don’t know what that would even mean. All the atheists I know of believe in almost all the same stuff that religious people do – we believe in other people, we believe in tungsten and wood and sunlight and friendship and electromagnetism and lions and music and snowshoes and so forth – the only things that religious people reliably believe in that atheists don’t are gods (and, usually but not necessarily, other supernatural things like ghosts, angels, souls and so on).

      It sounds like you should actually talk to some atheists, because someone somewhere has fed you a wildly distorted vision of what atheists are.

      • Datrebor

        How about scientist? They have faith in ‘dark matter’ in the universe but you can’t see it. They have faith in ‘string theory’ but to see that you would need energy beyond what we can make. They believe in more then one deminsions can’t see that either. How about faith in money, in the weather? People have faith but don’t think about as such.

        • DavidMHart

          Well, firstly, I’m not a physicist, but I have read a little on modern cosmology, and as I understand it, scientists have done the maths and worked out that, taking into account the strength of gravity and the amount of visible matter in the universe, there isn’t enough of it for the galaxies to be heavy enough to stay in one piece, so there must be some more matter that we can’t detect in order to account for the difference. What exactly this is is still something of a mystery, but it’s a mystery that people are hard at work on.

          And the debate about string theory bubbles on in the physics community – no one can say that it is true, but one can say that it seems to make the maths work out, so if we can work out a way of showing it to be true, then we’ll have peeled back a major layer of the onion in terms of how reality works.

          That is to say, dark matter is a current best explanation, which people have reached by careful observation, testing, and doing the maths … and which they are actively trying to find out more about. Gods on the other hand are invariably based on stories in ancient books, or subjective reports from people claiming to have had transcendent experiences, but with no way of verifying that those experiences aren’t just generated within their brains. And, crucially, no one in theology departments is devising experiments to test their hypotheses about their respect gods and figure out if they are true or false.

          What you will never see in any honest physics department is someone saying that you have to believe in dark matter because I, the high priest of physics say so, having experienced a personal revelation… or that string theory is written about in this ancient sacred book of physics and therefore it must be true.

          And as regards money … well, coins and notes obviously exist; we can see and touch them – we have very good empirical evidence. And if you mean the value of fiat money … well, everyone knows that the value of fiat money depends on the continues stability of the government that issues it, and the continued economic viability of the country or region it circulates in – only a fool would have faith that the value of the Euro could survive the collapse of the Eurozone. But as long as your government is in control and your country is not experiencing economic meltdown, then it is overwhelmingly likely that the money in your pocket will continue to be good for the stated value, and it is not a leap of faith to act on that assumption.

          We are simply not dealing with ‘faith’ in anything like the religious sense.

          Also, even if you were right, that scientists do have ‘faith’ in dark matter in the same way that Catholics have faith in the Transubstantiation, or that Muslims have in the night flight of Muhammed, then that’s still not faith in ‘nothingness’ – and you still haven’t tried to explain what that would even mean. You also still haven’t provided any evidence that the USA was founded by a god, rather by the human beings we now refer to as the Founding Fathers. Do you retract those claims?

          • Datrebor

            The thing is they can’t see it but show that can exist with math and have faith that it is there. There are people that don’t believe in dark matter and those that do because of the math. This is faith. God is stories that was written after the fact by many different writers over a long period of time but they correlate better then some that was written by one person over a short time. Then there is still events going on today that science can’t explain. Scientist do have a sacred books they are called journals where they keep their research and notes. Their sacred Math shows there might be other dimensions the arguments are on how many there are. The thing about money is we have Faith that it is worth something. There is nothing really backing the value of the dollar but faith. It used to be backed on a solid matter Gold but we ended that and now it changes and could not be worth the cloth its printed on. At one time US money was worth more the Canadian but not now.

            • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

              those that do because of the math. This is faith.

              I know that the order of multiplication does not affect the outcome. That is, 2 * 3 is the same as 3 * 2. I assume you also know that. That doesn’t require faith. And it doesn’t require us trying both to see that they are the same. And although at one point we may have just accepted what a teacher told us, we now can see that it must be true, based on what multiplication means.

              When a physicist comes to a conclusion as to what the observations and calculations mean, it isn’t ‘faith’. There is some degree of certainty involved. They do not know something beyond a shadow of a doubt, but their belief in a specific answer is backed up by their understanding, not ‘faith’.

              Scientific knowledge is a body of statements of varying degrees of certainty — some most unsure, some nearly sure, but none absolutely certain.

              – Richard Feynman

              • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                p.s. there is no difference between gold and paper in terms of why they have ‘value’. We trust that based on prior experience, someone will be willing to trade us something else for either of them. That prior experience is evidence. If someone gave you a bean and promised you that you could trade it for a car- that would require faith.

                • Datrebor

                  There is a difference, gold has value because its a precious metal that is hard to get more of. Paper’s value was based on gold or silver that you could go into any bank and trade the paper for gold or silver. Today its not based on any thing substantial as gold any more its more of a promissory note with in regards to how much you can buy with it.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  Why is gold ‘precious’? Because people want it? Don’t they want printed money? Sure, maybe people will stop wanting printed money. Could they stop wanting gold? What if we found an easy way to make more gold?

                  In either case it is ‘valuable’ because other people want it. The amount that they want it fluctuates. Right now people want gold a lot. In a few years they may want it a lot less.

                • Datrebor

                  Are you Joking? Gold is precious not just because people want it they want salt and its not expensive. Gold is in limited amounts and it takes a lot of work to mine more of it. Paper can be printed as much is allowed. It does not take much effort to print money. At one point in time it was illegal for private citizens to own gold so unless we can just turn some thing else into gold people are not going to stop wanting it. Watch twilight zone there was an episode where bank robbers took gold and hid out in a cave in cryogenic state and when they were unfrozen the survivor found gold was worthless.

                • Datrebor

                  http://buying-gold.goldprice.org/2005/12/why-does-price-of-gold-change.html
                  Here is your answer: “Today the dollar, like the currency of most nations, is fiat money
                  without intrinsic value, which means that it has no backing and would be
                  entirely worthless but for the fact that people have been persuaded to
                  use and accept it as if it had worth.” (along these lines any city or neighborhood can print its own paper ,not coins, money, not to hide from taxes, to be used in that area legally)
                  It also says that Gold has value and that the price is not changing but the dollar is and thus it takes more or less paper money to buy the same amount of Gold.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  Now we’re into Einstein’s general theory of relativity. Anything can be seen as ‘fixed’ and everything else moves relative to it. When you’re on a train, as long as it is not accelerating or decelerating, you can’t tell if it’s the train moving, or the world.

                  If the value of gold doesn’t change, then it is only because one has picked gold as the arbitrary fixed point among every other commodity from GOOG to pork bellies. Yes, I understand the nature of a limited supply item like gold vs a ‘virtual’ commodity like the dollar. I’m still saying that the ‘value’ that gold has is directly related to how much people want it. Which is due to people wanting it because other people want it. They trust the fact that they’ll always be able to trade their gold for other things. In the same way people trust that they’ll be able to trade their dollars for other things.

                  Your link from 2005 says gold sells for $300-$500/oz

                  It’s actually about 3 times that now (and was 4 times not long ago). So, when you consider how much food you have been able to buy with a dollar over the last decade, has the dollar really lost 2/3 of its value?

                • Datrebor

                  Ok but it still seems you missed my point that gold and paper money were linked that paper was backed by gold and even if the price of gold on the NY stock market has changed it will be valuable. Unless we can make gold it will always have value that there will be a want for it. The paper is more vapor compared to that, there has been talk about doing away with our money and going like the euro a one bill for all America’s or just doing away with money and going plastic.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  I think mostly we’re arguing different points, and way off the original topic anyway.

              • Datrebor

                Clearly, then, both religion and science are founded on faith — namely, on belief in the existence of something outside the universe, like an unexplained God or an unexplained set of physical laws, maybe even a huge ensemble of unseen universes, too. For that reason, both monotheistic religion and orthodox science fail to provide a complete
                account of physical existence.
                Paul Davies
                Theoretical physicist, cosmologist, astro-biologist,
                and co-Director of BEYOND, Arizona State University; author, The Eerie Silence and The Cosmic Jackpot

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  One cosmologist can explain to another their reasoning behind dark matter, and the second cosmologist can decide that the first is probably right, or wrong.

                  A theist can explain to another theist that God told her that people are supposed to gargle with apple juice on Wednesdays, and the second theist will have nothing but faith to guide her.

                  Davies is arguing about the nature of the laws of physics, but I wonder if he’d say there is a difference between knowing something like water is made up of two parts Hydrogen and one part Oxygen, or ‘knowing’ that God made the first female out of the first male’s rib.

                  If you really think that the periodic table is made up by faith, then I think we have such fundamentally different understandings of the word that we’re never going to get anywhere.

            • DavidMHart

              “There are people that don’t believe in dark matter and those that do because of the math. This is faith. “

              Not really. Well, perhaps there are individual scientists whose belief in the dark matter theory borders on something approaching faith, but, importantly, the enterprise of science as a whole does not behave like that, and is full of inbuilt mechanisms to counter it – like peer review, the competitive nature of the enterprise, the need for replication, the need for the hypothesis to be framed in a falsifiable was. Religions systematically avoid doing these kind of things. Name me one religion that pits its theologians against each other and, when one claims to have found evidence that a particular god exists, or has a particular characteristic, encourages rival theologians in the same field to devise a test that would disprove those claims.

              Scientific journals are not like bibles, korans and vedas, and I think you know it. A scientific journal is an ongoing publication, that no one claims is divinely inspired, where later editions publish new research that disproves or casts doubt on earlier research that was published in earlier editions, where the writers show their working – explaining not just what they claim to have found, but the methods they used to find it, so that others can try to replicate or falsify their findings. Name me one religion that claims that its holy book is merely the work of ordinary humans, whose publication in installments is ongoing, and where later editions explain what has lately been found to be false about things published in earlier editions, and how we figured that out.

              And regarding money – we can see money, we can touch money, and we can all find out what happens when we try to spend it – generally it is accepted (as long as we are using the right currency in the right region). Even if the currency is underpinned by government fiat, that fiat really does work as long as the government and the economy are stable, so it is not unreasonable for people to proceed on the basis that the money will continue to hold its value for as long as current economic conditions prevail.

              On the other hand, we cannot see gods, we cannot touch gods, when we try to investigate them, people come to radically different conclusions about the nature of those gods, and religions the world over not only fail to even try to devise any falsifiable tests to determine whether or not a particular god actually exists, they routinely claim that is unethical even to try to gather rigorous data on the subject. Gods are a lot more like vampires, ghosts, Santa Claus, fairies and other mythological things than they are like money, and until good evidence can be produced, it is exactly as reasonable to proceed on the provisional assumption that gods are all fictional as it is to proceed on the basis that vampires, ghosts, Santa Claus and fairies are fictional.

            • C.L. Honeycutt

              There are people that don’t believe in dark matter and those that do because of the math. This is faith.

              This is a lot like saying that when you get up in the morning to find your trash cans tipped over and the bags torn and rifled through, that “animals” is as faith-based an answer as “ghosts”.

          • B Sal Butler

            Excellent…

  • American Soldier

    I feel sorry for any one that believes that we should take IN GOD WE TRUST, Off of our money because its part of the foundation on which this nation was formed and the bases which our government and our laws were guided by, it is less about religion and more about remembering the sacrifices of our four fathers and anyone that has made real sacrifices for this country. I do not believe in anything particular myself but the great men who founded our country and fought till the death, and that are better than you or me, are the individuals who believed that “IN GOD WE TRUST” was worthy enough to be seen by all on our currency. I say leave IN GOD WE TRUST. Because in those words this nation, the country that I love and protect with my life on the line, gives hope when there isn’t any. I say it stays.

    • baal

      “when our country formed”? You do know that In god we thrush was added in the 1950s?

  • shadowguy14

    We’re not even an official Christian nation. Makes no sense to have that on there.

  • havingunt

    When they use that money, and claim that it has no specification as to which God they’re speaking of, they’re breaking their own FUCKING RULES.

  • Kathy

    One of the amendments is the right to religion, last time I checked atheists have no religion. This country was built on Christianity, if you don’t like it then you can always go to another country that isn’t religious. Sorry about your luck. The pentagram and owl offend me but I’m not suing. Who lives in a country and tell them what to put on the money. To an atheist God is only a word right? Give me a break! He needs to a get a job over the summer he obviously has to much time on his hands.

    • Justin Rebar

      Youre an idiot. Have you ever heard of the Treaty of Tripoli? Another thing… its *god, *christianity.

      • Datrebor

        Did you look any further then the word “Treaty of Tripoli”? The original treaty was payment to pirates to safe guard shipping from being stolen. Art.11 was not an article but a letter. That was later added as 11.

        (“the government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion”), this is not an untrue statement since it is referring to the federal government.

        Recall that while the Founders themselves openly described America as a Christian nation (demonstrated in chapter 2 of Original Intent), they did include a constitutional prohibition against a federal establishment; religion was a matter left solely to the individual States. Therefore, if the article is read as a declaration that the federal government of the United States was not in any sense founded on the Christian religion, such a statement is not a repudiation of the fact that America was considered a Christian nation.

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      I’m very sorry that, despite having access to Google, you are ignorant of the actual history of the United States and of the U.S. Constitution, and yet are arrogant enough to speak anyway.

  • Melina

    Well, aren’t you a pompous and biased fuck.

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      Lovely job of Witnessing there.

  • Andrew James

    Why can’t the religious people keep it to themselves… why should non believers have to promote something they do not believe in. It is unconstitutional, and racist to make non believers promote such a message.

    • DavidMHart

      I’m not seeing how racism comes into this.

    • Datrebor

      Its not unconstitutional nor racist. Christianity is not a race.

  • inapart11

    Don’t like it, don’t use it…….you people are sickening, attempting to promote your atheist doctrine while denying REAL AMERICANS their right to observe their religion.

  • jhgl hgyi

    I agree with what they are doing. Not that I’m necessarily atheist, but if we are supposed to support freedom of religion, then don’t put or leave something as suggestive or obvious as “In God We Trust” on our money. What else could that possibly mean? The average American isn’t going to think of anything else. Just because it has historic meaning doesn’t mean it has to stay. Times have changed; there are more differing views on religion than 200 years ago. I think it’s about time it got removed, and same with “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance.

  • None_of_ur_business

    They better not remove it. GOD, as much as you al HATE it, was what STARTED our country. They came to AMERICA for RELIGOUS freedom. So THAT is why it is on our dollar bill. DEAL WITH IT.


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