Late last week, as we promised, the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) filed an amicus brief in federal appeals court defending our National Motto – “In God We Trust” – from a self-described Satanist who brought a lawsuit asking the court to order the motto excised from the nation’s currency.
As we reported earlier, this is just the latest attempt by Atheists to scrub God from our money and our identity. When we filed an amicus brief in federal court in a similar case, the court agreed it was frivolous and dismissed the lawsuit. In the words of the court: "No reasonable viewer would think a person handling money does so to spread its religious message."
Undeterred by the string of losses suffered by atheists who have previously challenged the National Motto, the self-described “Satanist,” Kenneth Mayle, filed suit in a Chicago federal court, claiming that the National Motto on currency violates the Free Speech, the Establishment, and the Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment. Specifically, Mayle claimed that carrying money forces him to proclaim the “existence of” and “trust in” God. He also claimed that the National Motto actually “directly attacks his religious faith.”
The brief we filed urges the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit to affirm the lower court’s decision dismissing the lawsuit. In a short five-page opinion, the district court had rejected all of Mayle’s claims. Our brief explains to the appellate court that “Mayle’s 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.”
Our brief argues further that, none of Mayle’s rights under the First Amendment are infringed by seeing the National Motto on the currency. Placing the National Motto on currency does not force Mayle to do anything. The National Motto is the government’s message and no one would attribute that message to Mayle or to any other person who happens to carry money.
As we discussed earlier, every court that has considered any challenge to the National Motto has rejected it. When we filed our amicus brief, we let the court know we were representing over 315,000 supporters who signed on to our Committee to Defend “In God We Trust” – Our National Motto – on Our Currency. It’s with your invaluable support that we at the ACLJ are doing all that we can to ensure that meritless lawsuits such as this one challenging the National Motto continue to meet with failure.
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