federal appeals court has ruled that the inscription "In God We Trust"
on U.S. coins and currency is not a violation of the First Amendment ban
on the establishment of religion.
three-judge panel of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals found that the
inclusion of the national motto on American money is consistent with
"the government's legitimate role of honoring religion's role in
lawsuit was filed by a group called Atheists for Human Rights on behalf
of 27 individuals who claim to be atheists or children of
atheists. They argue that the motto on U.S. currency has the
impermissible goal of "suffus[ing] our nation with the Christian
plaintiffs also contend that exchanging money with the "In God We
Trust" inscription "coerces them into proselytizing a religious idea
writing the majority opinion, Judge Ray Gruender, a St. Louis native,
cites numerous Supreme Court precedents that declare that the
Establishment Clause must be interpreted in a way that"reflects the
understanding of the Founding Fathers."
Supreme Court has long recognized the unbroken history of official
acknowledgement by all three branches of government of the role of
religion in American life," Gruender wrote.
Establishment Clause does not require courts to purge the government of
all religious reflection or to... disable the government from
recognizing our religious heritage," the opinion continues.
three-judge panel also concluded that "the unobtrusive appearance of
the national motto on coinage and paper money does not amount to coerced
participation in a religious practice."
8th Circuit judges concluded their opinion by stating there is no
evidence that the placement of "In God We Trust" on U.S. currency "was
motivated by a desire to discriminate against atheists."
Verm, an attorney for the Becket Fund law firm, welcomed the 8th
Circuit decision. "For too long, the country has been stuck in
what has been described as 'Establishment Clause' purgatory."
good news is that you no longer need to be afraid that the pennies in
your pocket are gateway drugs to theocracy. The court's decision
is a huge step towards setting things right."