Let’s Sue them!
One of the most often heard replies to our posts about a city posting In God We Trust on anything revolves around lawsuits.
Sorry to tell you that is just not going to work in this situation. We know. It has been done ad nauseam.
Ever since the 1970 Aronow Vs United States case, this issue has been unwinnable in the courts. When that court said
“It is quite obvious that the national motto and the slogan on coinage and currency ‘In God We Trust’ has nothing whatsoever to do with the establishment of religion. Its use is of patriotic or ceremonial character and bears no true resemblance to a governmental sponsorship of a religious exercise.”
Even in later cases such as Lynch V Donnelly when Justice Brennon wrote
“I would suggest that such practices as the designation of “In God We Trust” as our national motto, or the references to God contained in the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag can best be understood, in Dean Rostow’s apt phrase, as a form a “ceremonial deism,” protected from Establishment Clause scrutiny chiefly because they have lost through rote repetition any significant religious content.”
The simple truth is we will not and can not win this one on litigation.
And calling for more lawsuits is exactly what the proponents want us to do. They want us focused on the unwinnable. They want us to beat our heads against the courtroom door until we give up and go home.
Because while we are focusing on trying to get In God We Trust deemed unconstitutional, they are in the halls of legislature making more religious laws.
They call it Project Blitz, and it is a nefarious concept designed to erode the wall separating church and state from the all sides.
One of their mission statements is to “To reclaim and properly frame the narrative and the language of religious liberty issues”
What does that mean?
It means they want to rewrite the secular history of our government and replace with what they call “Our Judeo-Christian Heritage”
They make that very clear in their 2017 publication Report and Analysis on Religious Freedom Measures Impacting Prayer and Faith which is essentially a play book of laws and proclamations designed to have religiously based laws put before legislatures all over the country.
In this document are talking points, model legislation, suggestions on how to respond to opposition, and, most importantly, then plans to make this seem as minimally invasive as possible.
The goal is literally to divide us at the beginning and get us to focus on the small stuff. Make us seem petty and quick to suggest a lawsuit over something as innocuous as the motto.
Then while they have us tied up in courts over that or they have convinced the public that we are just troublemakers, they release even more insidious bills and proclamations.
Like proclamations recognizing Christian Heritage week or recognizing the Year of the Bible!
But it doesn’t stop there. After they have softened us up they follow-up with bills that would restrict the rights of citizens based entirely on their Christian biases.
Like a newer of RFRA that would make States follow the Federal RFRA and not be allowed to use local anti-discrimination laws as the basis for enforcement. It would essentially remove protections for gay and transgender citizens that exist in certain states. You may recall the Washington case with Arlen’s Flowers. This bill would remove the protections that that case used and allowed open bigotry so long as it was based on religion.
Or the poorly named “Child Protection Act”. This bill is designed to allow adoption agencies to openly discriminate in their policies regarding placement of children so long as they have a sincere religious belief about the placement. This means that gay couples can be denied adoption. It also means that if the religion of the agency held beliefs against mixed race couples, they could be denied as well.
And one of the worst in this playbook of bill is one that allows professionals to deny services based on sincerely held religious beliefs.
That’s right, this bill is written almost specifically so pharmacist can deny women birth control pills and morning after pills based solely on their religious beliefs.
So, while we sit in courts debating the unconstitutional nature of In God We Trust, they are going to run roughshod over the divided groups as they try to keep a reign on all to these bills.
Not to say that all is lost, or that fighting the motto is a lost cause, but that it is not going to be won by the FFRF or AHA in some court of law.
In fact, it is my opinion that we stop asking them to even try to take on the motto in the courts. Let them do what they do best, litigate winning court cases. Let them take on these new bills and proclamations with their on-staff lawyers.
While they do that, let us do what we do. Let us oppose In God We Trust in the only court that matters now. The court of pubic opinion.
We don’t need lawyers and court decisions to make this motto a thing of the past. We need to change the mind of the people.
That is our playbook. Make people see this phrase for what it is. A purely religious statement that has no place in our government. A phrase the leaves out nearly 25% of the citizens of the nation. A phrase that is more likely to divide a community than to unite, as they would have you think.
Because once we change public opinion, congress is generally not far behind, and as we all know changing the motto is like an act of congress.
This is why we need your help in order to continue our mission to change the motto back to E Pluribus Unum. Become a monthly supporter or give a one time donation at the links below to keep us moving foward.