A group of atheists seeking to drop the phrase “In God We Trust” from U.S. currency filed a federal lawsuit this week in Akron, Ohio, arguing the expression violates the separation of church and state.
The group of 41 plaintiffs is led by Sacramento attorney Michael Newdow, who has previously sued the government to remove the words “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance, but was unsuccessful.
Because the atheists regularly handle money as a part of daily life, their suit argues, the phrase “In God We Trust” imposes upon them each time they do so.
One plaintiff “handles U.S. currency almost daily. As a Humanist, she does not believe nor trust in any g-d,” the complaint reads, substituting “God” for “g-d.”
“Rather, her beliefs require that she trust in her own abilities and a general responsibility to lead an ethical life. In handling the money, therefore, she is repeatedly unwillingly confronted with the words ‘In G-d We Trust.’ Thus, she is forced against her will to accept and re-distribute to others a message that goes wholly against her beliefs. Yet it is neither realistic nor reasonable for her to abandon the nation’s currency and use other forms of payment for all of her transactions.”
Unsurprisingly, the campaign has encountered resistance from religious commentators.