A prominent atheist has filed a lawsuit to remove the motto “In God We Trust” from U.S. currency. Michael Newdow recently revived his effort to have the motto removed, after failing to win multiple suits in the last several years.
Newdow believes the motto “violates the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution as it serves to proselytize unbelievers.”
Newdow said this teaches children to believe a message that is false. He wrote, “When [the child] is confronted with ‘In G-d We Trust’ on every coin and currency bill she handles or learns about in school, the power and prestige of the federal government is brought to bear upon her with the message that her father’s (and her own) Atheism is false.”
He appealed his case in 2014 to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. However, “The Supreme Court has recognized in a number of its cases that the motto, and its inclusion in the design of U.S. currency, is a ‘reference to our religious heritage. We therefore hold, in line with the Supreme Court’s dicta, that [the motto appearing on currency does] not violate the Establishment Clause.”
“In God We Trust” was first inscribed on U.S. coins in 1864 and on paper currency in 1957. After the Civil War a group of pastors proposed “to the U.S. Treasury Department that God be acknowledged on American currency.”