SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A U.S. district court judge on Monday dismissed a lawsuit brought by a California atheist against the U.S. government for its use of the phrase "In God We Trust" on its coins and currency.
I'm as surprised as I am thankful.
Judge Frank Damrell of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California held in his opinion that "In God We Trust" is secular in nature and use, and its appearance on coins and currency does not show government coercion on behalf of monotheism.
Newdow told Reuters he would appeal to the San Francisco-based U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled in his favour in his "under God" lawsuit, a decision later overruled by the U.S. Supreme Court, which found Newdow could sue not on behalf of his daughter because he lacked custody.
So, what happens if the 9th Circuit agrees with Newdow? Its rulings only apply in specific Western states. Would we not be able to use money with In God We Trust on it, but they could in the other states? How would the court enforce this ruling?
"The case is really straightforward. The history is overwhelmingly on my side," Newdow said.
He's right that the case is straightforward. But in what alternate universe is history "overwhelmingly" on his side? Has the concept of "ceremonial deism" never been adjudicated? Has the national motto never before been challenged? Have courts never ruled that government can deal with religion at all--military chaplains, a National Cathedral, a chaplain in the House of Representatives, the swearing of witnesses in court, the swearing in--on a Bible, no less!--of a President? Exactly how is history on his side at all? Unless he means the history of the 9th Circuit, in which case he might have a point.