National Motto Case: Atheist Michael Newdow Is At It Again

Jun 13th, 2017 | By | Category: Featured

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Read William J. Murray’s book on the Pledge of Allegiance!

The following has been reprinted from the Becket religious freedom legal group. Atheist Michael Newdow is once again trying to erase any mention of God from our national currency. He previously worked to remove the words “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance. He failed.

GING-PAC Chairman William J. Murray wrote about Newdow’s attack on the Pledge in his book, The Pledge: One Nation Under God, which was published in 2007. Buy a copy of The Pledge from the Amazon to learn more about Newdow’s previous anti-Christian efforts – and the history of religious liberty in America.

God is not a dirty word. The Founders believed this and courts have continually upheld their view.

Yet atheist activist Dr. Michael Newdow has sued again and again to scrub “God” from the public square. For years, he has repeatedly attacked our national motto, “In God We Trust,” by suing the government. The motto is based on the national anthem and first appeared on U.S. coins in 1864. So far, his lawsuits have all been rejected.

Newdow’s latest two lawsuits in his crusade against the word God are in the Sixth Circuit and Eighth Circuit courts of appeals. In each case, he has led a group of atheists claiming that the national motto violates their practice of atheism under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and the First Amendment. Becket filed a friend-of-the-court brief to defend the government’s use of “In God We Trust” in both cases.

Becket’s Sixth Circuit amicus brief, filed in February 2017, stated: “Plaintiffs want to have it both ways. They want to reject any notion of religious belief and transcendent truth and yet call it an ‘exercise of religion.’ Neither the English language nor the law can stretch that far.”

In April 2017, Becket filed an amicus brief in the Eighth Circuit in St. Louis, Missouri. In that case, Newdow argued not only that the motto violates atheists’ religious freedom, but that it establishes a religion as well. Becket’s amicus brief countered those arguments, explaining that for the Founders who wrote the First Amendment, an “establishment of religion” meant an official state church with government funding, government control, and fusion of church and state – and that honoring our nation’s religious heritage on our coinage is not one of them. The brief states, “Virginia’s earliest settlers attended twice-daily services on pain of losing daily rations, whipping, and six months of hard-labor imprisonment … . The motto’s presence on currency, of course, does not involve church attendance, compulsory or otherwise.”

These are not the first cases to consider the national motto, which has been upheld in court before. In 2014, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Newdow’s argument that the national motto violates the Constitution’s Establishment Clause by “establishing a monotheistic religion.” Becket filed an amicus brief defending the motto, arguing that it is not an establishment of religion to simply pay tribute to our nation’s religious heritage.

Newdow’s lawsuits are an attempt to create a heckler’s veto for atheists—a chance for anyone who disagrees with the government to dictate what it can say about our nation’s history. Becket’s briefs explain to the courts that if Newdow succeeds here, church-state conflict will balloon, and we will see a lot more litigation against God around the country.

The Sixth Circuit will hear oral argument on June 16, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Newdow and the Department of Justice will argue on each side.



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One Comment to “National Motto Case: Atheist Michael Newdow Is At It Again”

  1. If you want to be an athiest in the US Its ok with me, but keep in mind we are a christian country, and your attempts to destroy christianity are against the constitution! I suggest you ‘hit the road’ and find yourself some nice country that makes a practice of getting rid of christians. There are lots of them in the news these days!

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