Thursday, December 01, 2016

"In God We Trust" On Currency Does Not Substantially Burden Atheists

In New Doe Child #1 v. Congress of the United States, (ND OH, Nov. 30, 2016), an Ohio federal district court rejected several challenges to the United States' use of the motto "In God We Trust" on currency. Various plaintiffs either do not believe in God, or find the use of God's name on currency to be sinful.  The court rejected plaintiffs' 1st Amendment and RFRA free exercise claims as well as their compelled speech and equal protection arguments. The court said in part:
Plaintiffs cannot demonstrate that the use of the motto on currency substantially burdens their religious exercise. Credit cards and checks allow Plaintiffs to conduct the bulk of their purchases with currency not inscribed with the motto. And for cash-only transactions, such as a garage sale or a coin-operated laundromat, the use of the motto on currency does not substantially burden Plaintiffs’ free exercise.... Furthermore, Plaintiffs’ other concerns, that they may be subject to peer pressure or ridicule, or that their children may question their beliefs, are unlike the choice between a “basic benefit and a core belief” described in the Supreme Court’s case law....
(See prior related posting.)