A few weeks ago one American judge decided to strike down a case brought forward by a plaintiff regarding the religious wording on US currency. The plaintiff believes that the phrase “In God We Trust” is a breach of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act which puts a big burden on a person’s right to exercise their religious beliefs. However, Benita Pearson, a judge from Ohio, disagreed with him and said that the man has no proof of the burden. “Plaintiffs cannot demonstrate that the use of the motto on currency substantially burdens their religious exercise,” she wrote in her ruling. “Credit cards and checks allow Plaintiffs to conduct the bulk of their purchases with currency not inscribed with the motto. And for cash-only transactions, such as a garage sale or a coin-operated laundromat, the use of the motto on currency does not substantially burden Plaintiffs’ free exercise,” Pearson explained.
The plaintiff is Michael Newdowwho has been on a mission to remove the words “Under God” from the Pledge of Alliance as well. At the moment, Newdow is pushing to remove the “In God We Trust” phrase from the American dollar, as he claims that it’s a violation of the First and Fifth Amendments. “Plaintiffs either specifically do not trust in any ‘G-d’ (with NOT trusting G-d being a basic tenet of their belief systems) or hold G-d’s name so dear and exalted that to inscribe it on a monetary instrument is deemed sinful,” Newdow said, but judge Pearson didn’t think the same. “Plaintiffs argue that cash transactions force them to bear a message that they [feel] violate their religious beliefs,” she wrote. “But as the Supreme Court stated in Wooley v. Maynard, ‘The bearer of currency is thus not required to publicly advertise the national motto.’ Furthermore, Plaintiffs’ other concerns, that they may be subject to peer pressure or ridicule, or that their children may question their beliefs, are unlike the choice between a ‘basic benefit and a core belief’ described in the Supreme Court’s case law,” she explained.
The separation of church and state has been one of the main principles behind American democracy, but still, some people had their own arguments on the topic. “Congress shall pass no law respecting an establishment of religion. It doesn’t matter if it violates free will or not. The words “In God We Trust” respects an establishment of religion. On that grounds it should be stricken from government currency,” one online comment read.
“The phrase “separation of church and state” is a simplistic and misleading representation of the intent of the founding fathers. Their goal was to foster, nourish, and encourage religious belief in God (as opposed to belief in no god) because they correctly believed that people who think they will someday return and report to their creator are much more likely to be peaceful, loving, thoughtful, forgiving, courteous, etc. than people who do not hold such a belief. History is proving the correctness of their perception. All the stats say we are becoming less and less believers in God and they also clearly show our slow decent into rudeness, selfishness, greed and violence. Some will say there is no connection, they need to think that through very carefully,” someone wrote online.
What do you think – should “In God We Trust” stay on our currency?