The phrase “In God We Trust” will remain securely on the U.S. currency — for now.
On Tuesday, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Paul, Minnesota, rejected the claims of 29 atheists, atheist groups and children of atheists, all of whom argued the national motto’s presence on American dollars and coins violates the First Amendment free speech and religion clauses.
Judge Raymond Gruender said in his decision, according to Reuters, that the U.S. government is legally allowed to acknowledge and celebrate “our tradition of religious freedom” by placing the phrase on the currency.
He went on to argue the motto’s placement on American money “comports with early understandings of the Establishment Clause” while at the same time not compelling anyone to engage in religious observance.
Court rules national motto ‘In God We Trust’ will remain on U.S. currency after atheist groups filed suit claiming it violates their First Amendment rights pic.twitter.com/EVRyfbdeqe
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“In God We Trust” has been the official motto of the United States since 1956, when then-President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed legislation declaring it as such. The law also mandated the slogan be printed on all American paper currency.
The phrase first started appearing on U.S. coinage in 1864 during the Civil War, when pro-religious sentiment was at an all-time high.
Despite the historic significance of the motto, though, the attorney for the plaintiffs said it’s “utterly revolting” the phrase would ever appear on American dollars and cents.
Gruender, for his part, has been on President Donald Trump’s list of potential nominees for the U.S. Supreme Court.