Atheist Asks U.S. Supreme Court to Strike Down “In God We Trust”

Washington, D.C. – Prominent atheist Michael Newdow is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to declare that the national motto, “In God We Trust,” is unconstitutional. Pacific Justice Institute is a co-defendant in the lawsuit, alongside U.S. government officials.

PJI Chief Counsel Kevin Snider jointly argued the case with U.S. Department of Justice attorneys at the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Both the Ninth Circuit and the U.S. District Court in Sacramento held that the national motto is constitutional. Newdow is now asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case. Newdow claims that he operates an atheist “church,” and in his Petition for Certiorari, he states that it is “problematic” and “exceedingly difficult” to buy materials for his “church” or get contributions from parishioners, because atheists do not want to use currency imprinted with the national motto. In papers filed with the high court, Newdow writes: “Believing themselves to be included among the ‘We,’ in ‘In God We Trust,’ Petitioner here and other ‘devout atheists,’ are forced to choose between not using what is often the only available legal tender and committing what they consider blasphemy.” Newdow admits that credit cards and personal checks do not present the same conflicts for atheists.

The president of PJI, Brad Dacus, noted, “We simply cannot allow symbols of our national heritage to be discarded for fear of upsetting the most easily offended inpiduals. Even the most liberal court in America, the Ninth Circuit, agreed with us that the national motto is clearly constitutional. We are confident that the U.S. Supreme Court will do the right thing and end this frivolous lawsuit.”