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Radical Atheists At It Again

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Religious intolerance rears it's ugly head once again....   

 
 
  Atheist seeks removal of 'God’ from US currency — again Kimberly Winston
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“In God We Trust” appears on a penny. Religion News Service photo by Sally Morrow

 This image is available for web and print publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

(RNS) A California atheist who once argued against the Pledge of Allegiance before the Supreme Court has launched a federal legal challenge to the phrase “In God We Trust” on American currency.

Michael Newdow, 62, a Sacramento-based emergency-room doctor, filed a federal lawsuit seeking to strip reference to God from paper money and coins in an Ohio court earlier this month. Newdow claims the motto is a violation of his religious freedom.

In placing the motto “In God We Trust“ on American currency, the U.S. government has “substantially burdened” atheists and others “to personally bear a religious message that is the antithesis of what they consider to be religious truth,” the lawsuit claims on behalf of 41 plaintiffs, including parents, children and atheist groups and individuals.

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(RNS) California atheist Michael Newdow, who gained fame and notoriety for trying to take “under God” out of the Pledge of Allegiance, is continuing his legal efforts despite never winning a case. RNS file photo courtesy of Michael Newdow.

Newdow — who is also an attorney — hasunsuccessfully sought to have the phrase removed before. But in those attempts, his argument relied on the First Amendment protection from the governmental establishment of religion. This time, Newdow is basing his case on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or RFRA, a 1993 law designed to protect the exercise of free religion.

This challenge is significant because it adopts the same argument employed by Hobby Lobby in its successful battle against the Affordable Care Act in 2014. In that case — Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores — the Christian owners of Hobby Lobby claimed that RFRA prevented the government from requiring them to provide certain health care services, such as some forms of birth control, to their employees because those contraceptives violated their Christian faith. The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in Hobby Lobby’s favor.

But will courts do the same for Newdow?

Garrett Epps, a professor of law at the University of Baltimore who writes about constitutional law for The Atlantic, is skeptical. He said he is “mystified” by the argument that “In God We Trust” is a burden on religious freedom.

“It is hard for me to see how … having a nickel in your pocket is a terrible burden on your religious practices,” he said. “Unless Michael Newdow can explain that to me it is hard to see him getting anywhere with this.”

In the case filing, Newdow devotes six pages to arguing that “In God We Trust” is a burden to atheists and other nonbelievers. He argues the phrase is based on the Bible, a book the plaintiffs do not believe in, and that is amounts to a statement of belief that is “the antithesis of the Plaintiffs’ religious ideals.”

Newdow first challenged “In God We Trust” about 10 years ago. A federal judge then rejected his argument, saying the phrase is more a secular motto than a religious affirmation.

Newdow has also unsuccessfully challenged the use of “So help me God” in the presidential oath of office, which a federal judge rejected on similar grounds — that it is more secular than religious.

In 2004,  Newdow argued before the Supreme Court for the removal of  “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance on the grounds that its recitation by his daughter in school violated his freedom as an atheist. In an unusual move, Newdow presented his own case in oral arguments, in the case known as Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow. Court-watchers at the time generally gave him glowing reviews for his performance.

But he lost that case, too, on what justices call “standing” — that because he was not the custodial parent of his daughter, he did not have legal grounds for bringing the case.

“In God We Trust” first appeared on American coins in 1864, at the height of the Civil War. President Lincoln’s secretary of the Treasury, Salmon Chase, acted after receiving a letter from a Pennsylvania minister seeking some recognition of God in a national motto.

Congress voted to place the phrase on all U.S. currency in 1955 — in the middle of the Cold War against “godless communism,” the same time “under God” first appeared in the pledge. Different groups and individuals have been contesting both for decades, but none as relentlessly as Newdow.

“I don’t think there is any question that I am right,” Newdow told RNS in 2010. “I am going to keep fighting, hopefully winning, and getting the government to do what it is supposed to do, which is (provide) equal protection for all religious views.”

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I don't know that removing all traces of "god" from currency or other secular venues of our country is such a bad thing.  I'm not going to argue the whole separation of church and state thing all over again.  It won't change anyones mind, either way.  Religious intolerance?  No, I don't think so.

 

For those who take their religion too seriously, I'd like to leave you with an insightful quote from Ricky Gervais that pretty much sums it all up.

 

      "Humans have worshipped nearly 3,000 gods so far, but only your god actually exists. 

 

       The rest are just silly made up nonsense. 

 

       But not yours.  Yours is real".

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I wouldn't use the term Radical for the good doctor or the other 41 plaintiffs. Bout time we discarded the phrase from our money.

 

Interesting how RFRA may come back to bite those who pushed for it. RFRA was used successfully by the Hobby Lobby Corporation (owners imposing their belief system on employees), and may well work for the Satanists:

 

“As an adherent to the principles of the Satanic Temple,” begins a letter that one Missouri woman plans to hand to her health-care provider, “my sincerely held religious beliefs are…I, and I alone, decide whether my inviolable body remains pregnant.”This isn’t the first time the idea of a religious right to an abortion has come up. Abortion came up in the early 1990s, as Congress was considering RFRA, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act that has more recently come under scrutiny in the context of gay rights....

 

...The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the National Right to Life Committee both opposed earlier forms of the RFRA measure out of concern that it would also enshrine a religious right to an abortion, especially if existing protections for the procedure were overturned in the courts.

 

“They were worried courts would find a right to abortion under RFRA,” Berg said."

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Not "Radical" okay.... 

 

How might you describe this individual who feels that the inscription on US coins burdens his religious freedoms?

As an Atheist who is sick and tired of the Federal Government supporting an establishment of religion and imposing it on non-believers. Be it the Supreme court building, the currency, the wee childrens who have to recite the pledge, etc.... Take it all out. Keep religion private, unsupported, unfunded, unspoken, and out of the public domain.

 

"...In the footsteps of Roger Williams and William Penn, several denominations that were minorities at the time – including Methodists, Presbyterians, and Baptists – advocated the Virginia Statute to protect the exercise of their specific faiths. They joined forces with rationalists with Enlightenment goals, like Jefferson and Madison, who sought to sever official ties between the Virginia government and the established Anglican Church.

 

When opponents of the Virginia Statute sought to limit it by protecting only Christians, Jefferson recorded that amendment “was rejected by a great majority.” The whole point was to protect “the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan, the Hindoo, and Infidel of every denomination...."

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I say that if Newdow can raise the funds to pay for the retooling of the mint, we go ahead with his idea.  He could start a "go fund me" page or something.

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As an Atheist who is sick and tired of the Federal Government supporting an establishment of religion and imposing it on non-believers. Be it the Supreme court building, the currency, the wee childrens who have to recite the pledge, etc.... Take it all out. Keep religion private, unsupported, unfunded, unspoken, and out of the public domain.

 

"...In the footsteps of Roger Williams and William Penn, several denominations that were minorities at the time – including Methodists, Presbyterians, and Baptists – advocated the Virginia Statute to protect the exercise of their specific faiths. They joined forces with rationalists with Enlightenment goals, like Jefferson and Madison, who sought to sever official ties between the Virginia government and the established Anglican Church.

 

When opponents of the Virginia Statute sought to limit it by protecting only Christians, Jefferson recorded that amendment “was rejected by a great majority.” The whole point was to protect “the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan, the Hindoo, and Infidel of every denomination...."

 

 

How does any of that impact your (or this guy's) religious freedoms? 

 

How does an inscription on a coin impact you? 

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How does any of that impact your (or this guy's) religious freedoms? 

 

How does an inscription on a coin impact you?

The impact is subtle. I am forced to use money that clearly states, or at least implies, that I have trust in "God". I don't. So with every use, I am forced to go against MY beliefs which are theoretically protected as EQUALLY as the other umpteen thousands of belief systems that are practiced in the U.S.

 

More on the VA Statute

 

"The Virginia Statute for Establishing Religious Freedom begins with an extended preamble that provides commanding arguments for the necessity of religious freedom. Jefferson writes that "Almighty God hath created the mind free," and that "all attempts to influence it" by civil authorities, through financial burdens or legal punishments, only "beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and are a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion." As men who are "themselves but fallible," such politicians should not assume "dominion over the faith of others." And because religious beliefs do not bear on citizens' civil rights, restricting those beliefs "tends only to corrupt the principles of that very Religion it is meant to encourage." Jefferson goes on to argue that government should not regulate opinion and only protect citizens from "overt acts against peace and good order," and "that Truth is great, and will prevail if left to herself."

 

The statute then declares that "no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief, but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of Religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge or affect their civil capacities." The statute goes on to acknowledge that future assemblies may change the law; even so, "we are free to declare, and do declare that the rights hereby asserted, are of the natural rights of mankind," and any legislation that repeals the statute "will be an infringement of natural right."

 

I assert that Religious freedom is equal to freedom FROM religion!!!

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hang him. people forget in other countries, they murder you and your family for speaking against the government. if the word god on money bothers you, move to Canada. maybe he will sue for gluten being in food next also.

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The impact is subtle. I am forced to use money that clearly states, or at least implies, that I have trust in "God". I don't. So with every use, I am forced to go against MY beliefs which are theoretically protected as EQUALLY as the other umpteen thousands of belief systems that are practiced in the U.S.

 

Boo-Frikken' Hoo.... my Tax dollars run Abortion Mills and fund Wars.... that's the reality of life... Where do I fill out my Butt-Hurt paperwork? 

 

An expectation of Freedom FROM religion isn't going to work out too well in a nation that values the concept of Freedom OF Religion 

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I am a Christian,

I don't care enough about this issue to actually protest it, or push for it, or sway a vote in an election,

but intellectually I recognize that putting it on our currency is divisive and most likely offensive to anyone who worships a deity other than "God" and to atheists.

 

if it was a referendum issue I'd vote to remove it.

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