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A challenge of the invidious use of a religious motto on U.S. coins and currency taken by intrepid secular litigator Michael Newdow on behalf of many plaintiffs, including the Freedom From Religion Foundation and many of its members, was ruled against by a 3-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York today.
Primary plaintiff in Newdow v. The Congress of the United States, was Rosalyn Newdow, a member of FFRF and a devoted numismatist who collected coins for 40 years, but has felt obligated to stop purchasing coin sets which exclude her and all nonbelievers.
“It’s necessary to remind not just the courts but the public that ‘In God We Trust’ is a Johnny-come-lately motto adopted at the height of the Cold War. It was only officially required on all currency in 1955,” said Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF co-president.
“It’s not even an accurate motto. To be accurate, it would have to say, ‘In God Some of Us Trust,’ and wouldn’t that be silly?” she said, pointing out that today nonbelievers are the fastest-growing segment of the U.S.
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What about church vs. state? Members of the Congressional Prayer Caucus complain about President Obama’s alteration of his use of the “national motto.” David Edwards from The Raw Story reports:
Members of the Congressional Prayer Caucus wrote to President Barack Obama last month to ask that he correct speeches they say disregard the nation’s religious heritage.
The members took specific exception to a speech the president gave in Jakarta, Indonesia on Nov. 10, 2010, where he referred to the US motto as E pluribus unum.
The words are Latin, meaning “Out of many, one.”
“E pluribus unum is not our national motto,” the letter (.pdf) said. “In 1956, Congress passed and President Eisenhower approved the law establishing ‘In God We Trust’ as the official national motto of the United States.”
Obama used the term E pluribus unum in his speech to illustrate that in America, like other nations, “hundreds of millions who hold different beliefs can be united in freedom under one flag.”
[Continues at The Raw Story]