Atheists who failed to remove the national motto “In God We Trust” from U.S. coins and bills following an appeals court defeat have called their loss “utterly revolting.”
The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Paul, Minnesota, upheld in a 3-0 decision on Tuesday a lower court ruling from December 2016 that found that the national motto on money did not violate First Amendment free speech and religious rights.
As the New Doe Child # 1 v. The Congress of the United States case explains, 27 individuals who are atheists or children of atheists, along with two atheist organizations, declared that they “definitely do not trust in God.”
Circuit Judge Raymond Gruender explained that the motto did not constitute an establishment of religion, however, and rejected the argument that the atheists are being forced to uphold a message that goes against their beliefs by carrying money.
Gruender agreed with the Seventh Circuit that the arguments that “In God We Trust” on money transforms a constitutional practice into an unconstitutional establishment of religion is “too simplistic.”
“The Constitution does not prevent the Government from promoting and ‘celebrat[ing] our tradition of religious freedom,’ even if the means of doing so — here, adding the national motto to U.S. money — was motivated ‘in part because of religious sentiment.’ Placing ‘In God We Trust’ on coins and currency is consistent with historical practices,” he added.
Michael Newdow, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs, told Reuters in an email that it is “utterly revolting” that “the history of governmental denigration of a suspect class should trump [the] principle” that neutrality be the “touchstone” for analyzing claims under the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Stoyan Zaimov