Atheist Loses 'In God We Trust' Suit

A federal judge Monday rejected a lawsuit by an atheist who said the use of “In God We Trust” on U.S. coins violated his 1st Amendment rights.

U.S. District Judge Frank C. Damrell Jr. in Sacramento said the minted words amounted to a secular national slogan that did not trample on Michael Newdow’s religious views.

“There is no proper allegation that the government compelled plaintiff to affirm a repugnant belief in monotheism,” Damrell said in dismissing the suit.

Newdow, a Sacramento doctor and lawyer, lost an effort two years ago to have the Pledge of Allegiance banned from public schools because it contains the words “under God.”

He took his pledge fight to the U.S. Supreme Court, which said he lacked standing to bring the case because he didn’t have custody of the daughter on whose behalf he brought the suit.

A federal judge in Sacramento sided with Newdow in September after he filed an identical lawsuit on behalf of parents with children in three Sacramento-area school districts.

That case is pending before the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Informed of the “In God We Trust” decision, Newdow said he was not disappointed because it would give him an edge in an appeal.

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