Michael "Under God" Newdow is back in the news and the courts again. He’s the atheist who tried to get "under God" removed from the pledge, arguing on behalf of his daughter, who happens to be a believer, who also happens not to be in his fatherly custody. Failing that, he found some Sacramento parents who don’t want their kids to say the G word and won that case in federal court. An appeal to the supreme court is likely. Stay tuned.
Now he’s suing to get the G-word off our money. He should just be patient. The US Mint inadvertently fumbled the phrase off the edge of the first release Washington dollar, so why not just let government incompetence run its natural course? But I digress to the point of cynicism.
The phrase "in God we trust," in case you’re interested, first showed up on a 2-cent piece by act of Congress in 1864 at the request of the director of the US Mint who felt there should be a "distinct and unequivocal national recognition of the divine sovereignty" on the nation’s coins. In 1955, the same year that "under God" was officially added to the pledge, Congress required the phrase on all coins.
Newdow is that new breed of assertive atheist who doesn’t want to hear or see the G-word in public, especially at public expense. Apparently putting the G-word on currency is the equivalent of state-sponsored religion, contrary to the 1st amendment, or so he argues. I guess no one ever thought of that back in 1864. To call this state sponsored religion is a bit like suggesting that a teenager who says "ohmygod" every other sentence is being very religious.
Some argue that the phrase represents the religious values upon which this country was founded, though that’s not exactly what the director of the US Mint had in mind in 1864. I suppose we could change the phrase to "In God we trusted," though I doubt Newdow would be satisfied. Then there’s the great question of which "god" it is that we claim to trust in this pluralistic society of ours. For that matter, I’m not all that convinced of "e pluribus unum" either.
Personally I couldn’t care less what is stamped on Caesar’s coin. I’m more concerned over what that coin is worth now that the Fed is cranking out money like there’s literally no tomorrow under Obama’s shop until we drop stimulus plan. The ultimate leap of faith occurred in 1971 when US currency was taken off the gold standard. Up until that time it was "in gold we trust." It takes more faith to believe that fiat currency is worth anything than it does to stamp "in God we trust" on it.
An MSNBC poll shows that 87% of people prefer to leave the phrase on our currency. I wonder how many people believe that taking it off would somehow ruin the economy?
Here’s the news story: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10103424/
Here’s a poll: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10103521/