Atheist Loses Battle To Remove ‘In God We Trust’ From Money

by : Lucy Connolly on : 12 Jun 2019 13:16
Supreme court in god we trustSupreme court in god we trustPexels/@MichaelNewdow/Twitter

The Supreme Court this week rejected a case to remove ‘In God We Trust’ from all currency.

The case was filed by atheist Michael Newdow, who argued the inscription on notes and coins was a violation of the First Amendment, which protects freedom of religion among other things.

Newdow, 65, an attorney and emergency medicine physician, took his case to the Supreme Court on the grounds that atheists have been turned into ‘political outsiders’. It was rejected on Monday (June 10).

Michael NewdowMichael NewdowWikimedia

The motto ‘In God We Trust’ first appeared on coins in 1864, with Congress passing legislation requiring all paper and coin currency to bear the words in 1956, as per the US Department of the Treasury.

Although the phrase was placed on currency largely because of the increased religious sentiment which existed during the Civil War, Newdow argued it is now nothing more than a government endorsement of religion.

As per the petition, the atheist argued:


Petitioners are Atheists. As such, they fervidly disagree with the religious idea that people should trust in God. On the contrary, their sincere religious belief is that trusting in any God is misguided.

Thus, by mandating the inscription of facially religious text (i.e., ‘In God We Trust’) on every coin and currency bill, Defendants have turned Petitioners… into ‘political outsiders’ on the basis of their most fundamental religious tenet.

American dollar in god we trustAmerican dollar in god we trustPexels

This is a case which has spanned years; Newdow first filed the case to remove the phrase from currency at federal court in Ohio in 2016.

The atheist suffered a string of defeats in the lower courts, with the 8th US Circuit Court of Appeals agreeing to dismiss the case last year, the Washington Examiner reports.


This isn’t the first time Newdow has been the face of an atheist campaign either; in 2004, he brought a case arguing the words ‘under God’ in the Pledge of Allegiance violated the First Amendment. This was also unsuccessful before the Supreme Court.

United States Supreme Court Building United States Supreme Court Building Wikimedia

Just a few years later, the atheist sought to block Chief Justice John Roberts from saying the phrase ‘so help me God’ while administering the presidential oath of office to President Barack Obama during his inauguration in 2009.

Not stopping there, he also sought to stop the phrase from being recited in the 2013 and 2017 inaugurations. None of his attempts were successful.


UNILAD has reached out to Michael Newdow for comment.

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Lucy Connolly

A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).

Topics: News, Religion, Supreme Court, US News


US Department of the Treasury and 2 others
  1. US Department of the Treasury

    History of 'In God We Trust'

  2. Supreme Court


  3. Washington Examiner

    'In God We Trust' will remain on US currency as Supreme Court declines atheist challenge