On Tuesday, a federal appeals court rejected an atheist group’s demand that the U.S. cease printing the phrase “In God We Trust” on American money.
The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Paul, Minnesota, said that the slogan is not a violation of the Constitution’s proscriptions against government sponsorship of religion and that the motto does not violate anyone’s First Amendment rights.
While other courts have allowed the motto’s use on currency, Circuit Judge Raymond Gruender said it also did not constitute an establishment of religion under a 2014 Supreme Court decision requiring a review of “historical practices.”
Gruender said the Constitution lets the government celebrate “our tradition of religious freedom,” and that putting the motto on currency “comports with early understandings of the Establishment Clause” without compelling religious observance.
“In God We Trust” began appearing on U.S. coins in 1864 during the Civil War, a period of increased religious sentiment, and was added to paper currencies by the mid-1960s.
“In God We Trust” also became the national motto when Dwight Eisenhower singed it into law in 1956.
The latest ruling joins a long list of other rulings that also denied the atheist claim that the slogan violates the First Amendment including a lower court which decided in December of 2016 that the slogan is perfectly legal.
Naturally, the atheist’s lawyer was incensed by being shot down once again:
Michael Newdow, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, in an email called it “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.
Newdow is also known for unsuccessful litigation challenging the inclusion of “under God” in the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance.
Newdow is one of those loud activists who have worked for decades to destroy religious liberty in the U.S. He has had much success, but the destruction of the national motto has always eluded him.
Newdow, for instance, has succeeded in forcing communities across the country to ban the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools. He commonly pulls in from his home in New York to file nuisance lawsuits in towns all across America aimed at forcing local government bodies to strike against religious liberty.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.