That’s something religious believers often forget: Separation of church and state doesn’t just work for atheists. It works for believers. Imagine that in your town, people of a radically different faith than yours started flocking in from around the country, and within a few months they were in the majority. Would you want their god prayed to at your city council meetings? Would you want their religion taught to your kids in the public schools? Would you want their holy texts posted in your courthouse? If not—then please shut the hell up about how keeping religion out of government is a horrible form of religious repression.
Montana Families are Fighting for School Choice & Religious Liberty
In Kalispell, Montana, three families have joined forces with the Institute for Justice to bring school choice to the region.
In May 2015 the state of Montana created a scholarship program for families who couldn’t afford to send their kids to the school of their choice. The program relied on donors to donate money for the fund. In return, the donors would receive a modest tax refund of $150.
The problem came when the Montana Department of Revenue passed a ruling that denied the scholarship money to children who attended religious schools.
“I wanted to have input based on the values that I saw were important.” said Kendra Espinoza, part of one of the families being represented in the suit. “I think every parent has that right to be able to say, ‘I want my kids to be able to go to this school or that school.’”
It’s very simple: I don’t believe in “God,” but my money says I do.
I am an American, but I am not a part of the “We” in “In God We Trust.”
Millions of good, moral, patriotic citizens do not believe in a god. We
pay taxes, vote, sit on juries and serve in the military, but every time
we spend a dollar bill we are told that Congress considers us
To be accurate, the motto should say, “In God Some Of Us Trust,” and wouldn’t that be silly?
Unbelievers represent 7%-9% of the population. By comparison, Jews are a
respected minority at 2%-3%. Most people would consider “In Jesus We
Trust” to be exclusionary and inappropriate. So, why is it okay to
exclude atheists and agnostics?
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national organization of
atheists and agnostics. The most common complaint we hear from our
members is regarding “In God We Trust.” The phrase repeatedly has been
used to justify other First Amendment state/church violations. When we
complain to a city about prayers before council meetings, they almost
invariably respond, “But it says ‘In God We Trust’ on our money.” That
ubiquitous motto has been used to bolster arguments for school prayer,
Nativity scenes in public places, tax dollars for parochial schools …
you name it.
Ironically, the day before we filed our lawsuit challenging “In God We
Trust,” the City of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, voted to replace the Christian
Cross on its city seal (which had rightly come under constitutional
attack) with “In God We Trust.” The City of Zion, Illinois, has done the
same thing, disgruntled after losing its right to advertise
Christianity. The Illinois town of Hillsboro justiﬁed the
unconstitutional “The World Needs God” banner on its courthouse by
citing “In God We Trust.” If God is on our money, they argue, then it
must be okay on the courthouse.
But “In God We Trust” has never been legally tested in trial. Its
constitutionality has never had its day in court, nor has the Supreme
Court issued a decision on its merits. It is premature to use it as a
legal excuse to mix religion and government. This is one of the reasons
why we have gone to court over the issue.
In 1955 Congress put “In God We Trust” on all currency. Before then it
had appeared only sporadically, since the Civil War, on some coins. In
1956 Congress adopted the phrase as our national motto, replacing the
historic and more accurate “E Pluribus Unum” (“From Many, One”) chosen
by Jefferson, Franklin and Adams.
The 1950s was a time of intense Cold War hysteria. “Under God” was
inserted into the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954. During the McCarthy era,
no congressperson wanted to be seen voting against “God.” When Rep.
Bennett introduced the bill to put “In God We Trust” on our money, he
gave the threat of “materialistic communism” as a justification.
“In God We Trust” on money is a Cold War anachronism. If there ever were
any truly “unAmerican” activities, then defacing our secular currency
with religious graffiti was one of them.
The American way is to let people decide for themselves what to believe.
The Supreme Court has ruled that the government is restricted to
secular actions alone, that it must neither advance nor hinder religion.
“In God We Trust” is a religious phrase. It does not belong on the
legal tender of our secular nation, the first nation to separate church and state with a godless constitution.
Let’s reclaim our traditional, inclusive, American motto: “E Pluribus
Unum.” The Berlin Wall has come down. It’s time to rebuild Jefferson’s
“wall of separation between church and state.”
Ok story that I found hilarious and wanted to share with you all:
The Oklahoma statehouse has the 10 commandments hanging above the stairs. There is currently a lawsuit playing out to decide whether or not this is unconstitutional.
So a bunch of organizations, including local Hindus, an animal welfare group and that spaghetti church have made bids to place their own statues in the statehouse. And now the local Satanists have joined in. With this 7-foot statue of Baphomet complete with a giant pentagram and two children who apparently talk to strange demonic goat-headed people all the time.
Obviously if the Ten Commandments piece is ruled to be constitutional after all, the statehouse will also have to incorporate these new monuments into their design. Including the Satanic goat.
If you think it’s reasonable for a country to make your personal religious opinions into laws, you’re fundamentally misunderstanding one of the truly important gifts of the USA to the democracies of the world: the constitutional separation of church and state.
Hint: It was designed to protect people like you, not people like me.