Tarry for the Nonce

November 16, 2005

What Does It Matter?

Filed under: News — lmwalker @ 5:24 pm

Michael Newdow needs a day job:

Michael Newdow, the atheist who continues his fight against the Pledge of Allegiance, will open a new front this week in his campaign to purge references to God from government.

He plans to file a lawsuit Thursday in U.S. District Court in Sacramento, Calif., challenging the national motto: “In God We Trust” . . .

The courts tend to view certain expressions like the national motto as casual religious references that have been around so long they’ve lost religious power, said professor Alan Brownstein, a constitutional expert at the University of California, Davis.

” ‘In God We Trust,’ ” Brownstein said, “is not something that most people look at and even associate as being religious.”

He might have a point, but that’s almost sadder . . .

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5 Comments

  1. I think what it matters is that it’s a government endorsement of belief in the supernatural. While I’m all for people worshiping whatever deity they find comfort in, IMHO, it’s not the place of government to either condone or endorse this activity.

    Comment by Howard — November 17, 2005 @ 9:46 am

  2. Actually, I would argue that it is a deference back to those beliefs (whether they were formal or informal) of those who founded the country, and should remain in place as part of the foundation of the moral law that helped form our Independence, our Constitution, and our desire to free those people under oppression.

    Of course, since most of these mottos appeared in the 1950s, one could argue differently. I prefer to keep it, as I think that any decision to change the currency should be considered grave, as it sends a message that we simply use things when they are necessary, rather than creating this idea of permanency. (ie. using God to distinguish communism & communist ideals from our own during the cold war). Not to mention the fact that it takes money to change money. Do we really want to waste money printing new money after we just printed new money recently?!

    Comment by Andrew P. — November 17, 2005 @ 1:20 pm

  3. One of the principals this country was founded on was to be one in which people choose to worship (or not worship) as they saw fit without interference from government. Thus the government should have no standing on endorsing a supernatual ruler or not.

    I don’t believe that anyone is calling for money to be recalled (correct me if I’m wrong), but to have new money to be secular.

    Personally, I don’t think that keeping something that was added to differentiate us from the “godless” communists needs to be kept out of pure habit. I’d like to think we’re enlightened enough to take a renewed look at it.

    Comment by Howard — November 17, 2005 @ 2:13 pm

  4. I think what it matters is that it’s a government endorsement of belief in the supernatural.

    Just for the record, the title of the post was meant to reflect Brownstein’s viewpoint, not mine. My point is that Brownstein’s contention that casual religious references had lost all power is a sad commentary on society. Saying “in God we trust” should mean something and, if it means nothing, it shouldn’t be said.

    As to the motto on the money: not to sound completely old-fashioned here, but I was rather fond of “E Pluribus Unum.”

    Comment by laura — November 17, 2005 @ 2:58 pm

  5. but I was rather fond of “E Pluribus Unum.”

    How old are you really?! Younger than the hills, but older than the forests?

    Comment by Andrew P. — November 21, 2005 @ 3:39 pm


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