A lawsuit claiming that the national motto of the United States is unconstitutional – filed by the notorious atheist Michael Newdow – was dismissed by an Ohio federal court last week.
Representing atheists nationwide, Newdow contended that the Americans’ free speech and free exercise clause rights are violated solely because they appear on U.S. currency.
Handling cash offensive?
It was argued that the mere existence of the national motto on a dollar bill forces religious beliefs upon the user.
“Plaintiffs asserted that carrying currency equated to governmental compulsion to speak in support of the National Motto and to bear a ‘religiously offensive’ message, in violation of the Free Exercise Clause and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) reported.
However, Newdow’s claim met stiff competition, as ACLJ attorneys filed an amicus brief on behalf of 50 members of Congress and the Committee to Protect the National Motto – consisting of more than 120,000 ACLJ members – calling for the court to dismiss Newdow’s problematic lawsuit.
“While the First Amendment affords atheists complete freedom to disbelieve, it does not compel the federal judiciary to redact the national motto from the Nation’s currency,” ACLJ’s brief reads. “Plaintiffs’ quarrel is essentially with a foundational principle of America, [and] the national motto simply echoes the principle found in the Declaration of Independence that our freedoms come from God and not the state.”
Also contended In the brief is the fact that neither the free speech rights – nor the free exercise rights of atheists – are violated by just looking at the National Motto on American currency.
“Placing the National Motto on currency does not force atheists to do anything,” ACLJ attorneys explain. “The National Motto is the government’s message and no one would attribute that message to atheists or to any other person who happens to carry money.”
Common sense reasoning …
After reading the brief, the Ohio federal court embraced ACLJ’s argument and dismissed the lawsuit waged by the offended atheist.
“In a very brief opinion that stands as an implicit rebuke to the frivolity of Plaintiffs’ claims, the court ruled that the National Motto burdened neither the Plaintiffs’ free exercise nor free speech clause rights because plaintiffs were not compelled to do anything,” the Christian legal organization based in Washington, D.C., announced.
Factual and common sense reasoning were used when putting together the judge’s opinion.
“No reasonable viewer would think a person handling money does so to spread its religious message,” the opinion states. “A person does not own the bills and coins printed by the United States Treasury. The government does not require citizens to display money. Money does not exist for the express purpose that it be observed and read by the public.”
Along with members of Congress, the following influential government leaders joined ACLJ’s brief: J. Randy Forbes, Senator James Lankford, Senator Roy Blunt, Senator Steve Daines, Senator Jerry Moran, Robert Aderholt, Lou Barletta, Rob Bishop, Diane Black, Doug Collins, K. Michael Conaway, Kevin Cramer, Jeff Duncan, John Fleming, Trent Franks, Louie Gohmert, Bob Goodlatte, Garret Graves, H. Morgan Griffith, Glenn Grothman, Gregg Harper, Vicky Hartzler, Jody Hice, Richard Hudson, Tim Huelskamp, Randy Hultgren, Bill Johnson, Sam Johnson, Walter Jones, Doug LaMalfa, Doug Lamborn, Robert Latta, Barry Loudermilk, Blaine Luetkemeyer, Tom McClintock, Jeff Miller, Randy Neugebauer, Dan Newhouse, Steven Palazzo, Steve Pearce, Robert Pittenger, Joe Pitts, Tom Price, John Ratcliffe, Peter Roskam, Pete Sessions, Michael R. Turner, Tim Walberg, Mark Walker, and Daniel Webster.
Up for another beating?
Despite his latest loss in court, Newdow is continuing his relentless attack against America and the founding Christian principles upon which it was founded.
“Mr. Newdow and his clients have so far enjoyed a perfect losing streak in federal court challenges to the National Motto, but they remain undeterred,” ACLJ’s Laura Hernandez announced. “The very same day that the court’s decision came down, Mr. Newdow filed papers notifying the court that he was appealing the decision to the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.”
To ensure that Newdow’s losing streak remains intact, ACLJ attorneys are currently in the process of writing up another amicus brief to file with the Court of Appeals soon. Bolstering its cause to preserve the national motto on U.S. currency, ACLJ has already collected more than 180,000 signatures on its “Defend ‘In God We Trust’” online petition.