'In God We Trust' Upheld on U.S. Currency

Two federal courts ruled within days of each other last week that America’s national motto, “In God We Trust,” is lawful on U.S. currency. Both the 6th and 7th U.S. Circuit Courts dismissed cases challenging the motto using constitutional and Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) claims. The 7th Circuit stated, “[A]s multiple courts have said, the motto’s placement on currency is related to at least one legitimate governmental objective — acknowledging an aspect of our nation’s heritage.”

One of the 6th Circuit judges, Karen Nelson Moore, dissented and seemed to suggest “E Pluribus Unum” as a more appropriate motto for the U.S. “We ought to recognize that this court’s assertion that the statement ‘In God We Trust’ — a phrase invoking faith in a supreme, monotheistic deity — is secular requires some suspension of disbelief,” she said.

However, the majority on the 6th Circuit did not believe the motto to be a substantial burden on anyone’s beliefs, and the 7th Circuit stated it upheld the motto’s legality “not because we think that the phrase ‘In God We Trust’ is absolutely devoid of religious significance, but instead because the religious content that it carries does not go beyond statutory or constitutional boundaries.”

Find out more from the American Center for Law & Justice here.

By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations

Published: June 8, 2018

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