'In God We Trust' On American Money At The Center Of Budding Lawsuits

| by Nathaly Pesantez

“In God We Trust”, a phrase printed on American money, has some people vowing to fight its use before a court of law. 

Attorney Michael Newdow, most known for his attempts to remove “Under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance, is behind the effort to challenge the appearance of the words “In God We Trust” on American paper currency. 

In a post published by Patheos, Newdow asserts that this long time practice is “clearly unlawful.”

“It violates the first ten words of the Bill of Rights…and it violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA),” he wrote. 

While the inscription on coins and bills has been argued plenty before, Newdow says he will use the RFRA this time to gain more leverage, seeing as there is “no compelling government interest in having ‘In God We Trust’ on our money.”

According to Mic, the RFRA could ironically be used to aid Newdow’s argument by claiming that atheism “is a type of religion ‘deserving exemption’, or make the case that the inscription discriminates against those from other faiths, or those who adhere to no religion.

“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?” Newdow said to ThinkProgress. “But atheists are so denigrated in this society that people accept this without a second thought.

Of the twelve federal districts, lawsuits will be presented to the seven that have not heard arguments over the inscription. Newdow also makes a call for plaintiffs to participate in the lawsuits. 

The origins of the inscription on American money can be traced back to the Civil War, when religious sentiment was at a high. The phrase first appeared on paper money in 1957. 

Sources: Patheos, Mic, ThinkProgress, U.S. Department of Treasury
Photo Credit: Kevin Dooley/Flickr