Having been unsuccessful thus far in his fight to get “In God We Trust” removed from American currency, atheist Michael Newdow filed a lawsuit this week that argues the motto is a violation of religious freedom.
“It violates the first ten words of the Bill of Rights (‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion’) and it violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” Newdow wrote in a blog post last year.
The complaint itself says that the motto “has continued to be a tool used to perpetuate favoritism for (Christian) Monotheism. It has also continued to perpetuate anti-Atheistic bias.”
In an interview with ThinkProgress, Newdow said, “Imagine if Christians had to carry on their body something they disagree with religiously, like ‘Jesus is a lie.’ How long do you think that would stand?”
This is not the first time the motto has been challenged; atheists have been trying to get it removed since 1970. Time and again, the courts have found no merit to the argument that “In God We Trust” is a violation of the First Amendment. That is perhaps why Newdow, in his latest lawsuit, has emphasized the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
“Every Supreme Court justice involved in the three RFRA cases heard to date has agreed that, under RFRA, religious activity may not be substantially burdened without a compelling governmental interest,” he wrote.
Indeed. And that’s an argument for your case how, exactly? Oh, because you consider that your atheistic religion is being burdened by the presence of this motto. Right. If you can find a single court in the land to agree with that position, we’re in worse shape than anyone might have thought.
America was founded under the guidance of God. The founders were very careful to keep the church from gaining too much power over the federal government, but they never intended to set up a secular nation without the slightest degree of religious influence. Everything the founders wrote or said indicated an abiding belief in God. The argument can be made about whether or not the United States is a Christian nation, but there is no sound argument that says it’s an atheist nation.
Even if there was, though, the courts have found that “In God We Trust” has sufficiently woven its way into the cultural fabric of the country as a motto without specific religious meaning. Sorry, atheists. You can simply pretend that “God” means “Dawkins.”