Jump to content

Home

Atheists sue to keep 'In God We Trust' off Capitol Visitor Center


Achilles
 Share

Recommended Posts

Link to full story

 

WASHINGTON — A California Republican congressman wants to do a little writing on the walls of Washington's newest federal building. If Rep. Dan Lungren gets his way, Congress will spend nearly $100,000 to engrave the words "In God We Trust " and the Pledge of Allegiance in prominent spots at the Capitol Visitor Center .

 

Lungren's proposal drew only a whimper of opposition last week when the House of Representatives voted 410-8 to approve it. Now, however, Lungren finds himself tussling with a national atheists and agnostics group.

 

The Wisconsin -based Freedom From Religion Foundation Inc. sued this week to stop the engraving, accusing Lungren of trying to force his religious beliefs on as many as 15 percent of all U.S. adults. That comprises "atheists, agnostics, skeptics and freethinkers, none of whom possess a belief in a god," according to the lawsuit.

 

"It really is a Judeo-Christian endorsement by our government, and so Lungren is wrong," said Dan Barker of Madison, Wis. , a co-president of the foundation. "Lungren and others are pro-religious, and they want to actually use the machinery of government to promote their particular private religious views. That is unconstitutional, and that's what we're asking the court to decide."

 

History of "In god we trust" for those who might not realize that it's a recent addition.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 82
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

In God We Trust is the official motto of the United States

...

Congress passed the Coinage Act (1864) on April 22, 1864. This legislation changed the composition of the one-cent coin and authorized the minting of the two-cent coin. The Mint Director was directed to develop the designs for these coins for final approval of the Secretary. In God We Trust first appeared on the 1864 two-cent coin.

...

According to a 2003 Gallup Poll, 90% of Americans approve of the inscription on U.S. coins.

...

The Supreme Court has upheld the motto because it has "lost through rote repetition any significant religious content". In such related decisions as Zorach v. Clauson, the Supreme Court has also held that the nation's "institutions presuppose a Supreme Being" and that government recognition of God does not constitute the establishment of such a state church as the Constitution's authors intended to prohibit.

So it is:

 

-Historically associated with the US' federal government for at least ~140 years, out of a total national history of around 230 years;

-The legal and official motto of the United States of America;

-Hugely popular with the American people;

-Upheld by your Supreme Court as not constituting a breach of your First Amendment.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, I fail to see how e pluribus unum would be of less significance and meaning than "In God we Trust" as a national motto. :confused:

 

This is what happens when the fundies decide that we need to rebrand the country to avoid being mistaken for godless commies.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here's a solution for those atheists who don't like the statement--exercise your freedom not to read it. It's going to be in one spot only, and not like it's stenciled all over the walls, floors, and bathroom stalls so that you're forced to see it and have your sensibilities offended. You also have the freedom to move to atheist countries like China or Russia, too, if you just simply can't stand to see 'God' anywhere in the public sphere.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here's a solution for those atheists who don't like the statement--exercise your freedom not to read it. It's going to be in one spot only, and not like it's stenciled all over the walls, floors, and bathroom stalls so that you're forced to see it and have your sensibilities offended. You also have the freedom to move to atheist countries like China or Russia, too, if you just simply can't stand to see 'God' anywhere in the public sphere.

 

I think you're quite likely to see God in the public sphere in Russia, Jae. The Russian Orthodox Church has a membership of 80-100 million people.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here's a solution for those atheists who don't like the statement--exercise your freedom not to read it. It's going to be in one spot only, and not like it's stenciled all over the walls, floors, and bathroom stalls so that you're forced to see it and have your sensibilities offended. You also have the freedom to move to atheist countries like China or Russia, too, if you just simply can't stand to see 'God' anywhere in the public sphere.

 

damn, you just gave me a good idea...*goes to store to buy some spraypaint*

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here's a solution for those atheists who don't like the statement--exercise your freedom not to read it.

 

It's a government building. We have a right to visit it without having to view your propaganda.

 

It's going to be in one spot only, and not like it's stenciled all over the walls, floors, and bathroom stalls so that you're forced to see it and have your sensibilities offended.

 

Sorry to hear that civil liberties fall so low on your list of values. Then again, I'm not sure what else to expect from a conservative ideologue.

 

You also have the freedom to move to atheist countries like China or Russia, too, if you just simply can't stand to see 'God' anywhere in the public sphere.

 

I know you're all too happy to jump on the "atheists are 2nd class citizens" bandwagon, but I still have just as much of a right to be here as you do.

 

Thanks for keepin' it classy Jae.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's a government building. We have a right to visit it without having to view your propaganda.

Curious though it may be, I don't think it's Jae's propaganda... in fact, I'm pretty sure it's your legally enshrined national motto, as supported by a huge majority of Americans. It was also a popular sentiment/phrase for a long period before that, has been on your coins for half your country's history, and is supported by your Supreme Court as not constituting a breach of your First Amendment - all according to your own source.

 

I'm curious to know how that constitutes propaganda specific to Jae.

 

Sorry to hear that civil liberties fall so low on your list of values. Then again, I'm not sure what else to expect from a conservative ideologue.

"Oh yeah? Well you smell!"

 

How about addressing the point, dear chap? Not that your invective isn't amusing.

 

I know you're all too happy to jump on the "atheists are 2nd class citizens" bandwagon, but I still have just as much of a right to be here as you do.

Que? That looks like a bit of a leap of logic.

 

Thanks for keepin' it classy Jae.

Unlike your own calm, reasoned response?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's a government building. We have a right to visit it without having to view your propaganda.
It's the national motto. If you object to it, write your Congressman and Senators to propose a bill to remove it as the national motto. At the point it is removed as the national motto, I will then consider your argument to have validity.

 

Sorry to hear that civil liberties fall so low on your list of values. Then again, I'm not sure what else to expect from a conservative ideologue.

Freedom of religion is not the same as freedom from religion. You should learn the difference. I don't want atheism forced down my throat any more than you want theism crammed down yours.

I know you're all too happy to jump on the "atheists are 2nd class citizens" bandwagon, but I still have just as much of a right to be here as you do.

I know many fine, upstanding, first class atheists, including a number of them on this forum, and I am proud to be a fellow citizen with them. Please state where I noted or even implied that atheists are second class citizens, or retract your statement please.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

damn, you just gave me a good idea...*goes to store to buy some spraypaint*

If your doing what I think your doing: Can I help?:D

It's the national motto. If you object to it, write your Congressman and Senators to propose a bill to remove it as the national motto. At the point it is removed as the national motto, I will then consider your argument to have validity.

 

Freedom of religion is not the same as freedom from religion. You should learn the difference. I don't want atheism forced down my throat any more than you want theism crammed down yours.

I know many fine, upstanding, first class atheists, including a number of them on this forum, and I am proud to be a fellow citizen with them. Please state where I noted or even implied that atheists are second class citizens, or retract your statement please.

Yeah! You tell him Jae:p

 

Why is is such a big deal? Did the people in that group run out of Churches to TP?:xp:

Its the national motto (like has been stated before), and this country was started as a Christian nation.

It is within our rights to place "In God we Trust" in places that we see fit.

In fact, I'm going to hang in my barn.:D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Its the national motto (like has been stated before)' date=' and this country was started as a Christian nation.[/quote']Uh, I wouldn't exactly word it that way. Almost of all of the founding fathers were Christian, by denomination, but to say that they were actively practicing and strictly adherent Christians would be a fallacy. Thomas Paine sticks out as one of the more outspoken critics of dogma and its role in religion, including directly denouncing religious institutionalism as a whole. Ben Franklin's dabbling with "lower women" also didn't cement the notion of a nation consisting of high Christian moral fiber either. :xp:
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's the national motto. If you object to it, write your Congressman and Senators to propose a bill to remove it as the national motto. At the point it is removed as the national motto, I will then consider your argument to have validity.

Or I can wait to see how far up the food chain this legal case goes. Perhaps this court will change the previous supreme court ruling. That would work too.

 

Freedom of religion is not the same as freedom from religion.

 

Good thing that isn't up to you. :)

 

You should learn the difference. I don't want atheism forced down my throat any more than you want theism crammed down yours.

 

No one (except you) is suggesting any such thing. You're more than welcome to be as theistic as you like. The government on the other hand is not. You should learn the difference.

 

I know many fine, upstanding, first class atheists, including a number of them on this forum, and I am proud to be a fellow citizen with them. Please state where I noted or even implied that atheists are second class citizens, or retract your statement please.

 

I offered to teach a class once. Here's a lesson.

 

An argument is premise or series of premises leading to logical conclusion. If someone puts forth an argument, then you can "reverse engineer" which premises (stated or unstated) have to exist in order for the argument to work.

 

So let's work backwards:

 

Argument: Atheists that don't like theism should move to another country.

 

Premise: Theists should have consideration over non-theists.

 

The premise has to be considered "true" in order for the argument to work. Perhaps it would help to expend a little more effort to consider the implications of your statements before you make them (???)

 

Why is is such a big deal? Did the people in that group run out of Churches to TP?

 

It's a big deal because the government is not supposed to support any one religion over another.

 

Its the national motto (like has been stated before)' date=' and this country was started as a Christian nation.[/quote']

 

First, christian fundamentalist lobbied to have it established as our national motto 50 years ago. Second, this country was not started as a christian nation (see: Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli if you would like to see our "official" stance on the matter).

 

It is within our rights to place "In God we Trust" in places that we see fit.

In fact, I'm going to hang in my barn.

 

Yes, as an individual with a Constitutionally protected right to free speech, you're welcome to hang whatever you'd like in your barn. Knock yourself out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I find it interesting when some people here hyperventilate about how they have some right to be "protected" from the word "God" on public buildings, money, etc.. Even if they place a reference to "God" on a public building, you've consistently failed to demonstrate any harm beyond being honked off by the fact that not everyone believes atheism to be right. There are no laws in this country that disqualify an atheist from running for public office or receiving any of the benefits that their fellow theists do, nevermind forcing you at pain of death or imprisonment to renounce your atheism. Drop this canard of "second class citizenship" b/c it only sounds like the incessant whining it is. Show me where the laws say that you as an atheist (and yeah, atheism HAS to be the disqualifying factor as that's what the discussion is about)are banned from activities the rest of your fellow Americans enjoy and I'd be willing to consider a legitimate injustice as needing possible redress. Until then, you'll have to settle for your side's relentless propagandizing of the masses to become as atheistic as you are. :rolleyes:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Uh, did no one notice this?

 

Arguments about freedom of/from religion aside, does this strike anyone as a frivolous use of taxpayer money?

 

Given how big a hole we're in and BO wants to keep spending anyway, I don't see it as a problem. Have you looked at the crap packed into his and the Dem's "stimulus" bill? The govt has never had a problem with wasting money. Hell, given how unproductive Congress is, I'd say the whole center (regardless of when the building was actually commissioned) is a frivolous and colossal waste of money.

Edited by Totenkopf
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think the point of this lawsuit is clear to all people reading this thread. This isn't about a bunch of atheists who are mad at seeing the word 'God'; the problem is that the word 'God' would be on a government building.

No one would sue a church even if it had the words 'In God we trust' written all over it a thousand times. But by putting it on a government building the government endorses one belief system over all others. So it's not about offended sensibilities.

 

The fact that it is the national motto also does not make the phrase immune to criticism. In fact it makes it worse because that in itself is an endorsement of one religion by the government, and it does actually imply that anyone who does not 'trust in God' is un-American, or less American than those who do.

 

Phrases like 'Freedom of religion, not from religion' also imply that atheists shouldn't be treated the same as religious people.

 

And finally, concerning 'atheist propaganda': is the absence of the word 'God' really atheist propaganda? Or is it just a blank wall?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In a country whee there is freedom of religion, you are allowed to have any religion you want or none at all if that is your choice.

 

In a country with freedom of religion but without freedom from religeion, you are forced to have a religion and you have to choose one; thus telling you what you can't do in terms of religion.

 

Therefore, freedom from religion is inherently freedom of religion.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@EW--actually, no. What Federal laws prevent atheists from running for higher office b/c they are atheists? Don't conflate some people's unwillingness to elect an atheist with the same thing. However, if you read carefully, you'll notice I said

Show me where the laws say that you as an atheist (and yeah, atheism HAS to be the disqualifying factor as that's what the discussion is about)are banned from activities the rest of your fellow Americans enjoy and I'd be willing to consider a legitimate injustice as needing possible redress.
So, I stepped in nothing. I've said if they exist I'd be willing to consider an injustice being done. :raise:

 

*it should be noted if you want to say that some states bar atheists from holding office, I agree that's unfair and that's what outfits like the ACLU live for. As for private organizations (Boy Scouts, Free Masons, etc...), they have the right to choose who they want and don't want in their organizations. My advice woulod be to try to convince them to have a change of heart if that's what you're shooting for. However, the govt shouldn't have the right to force private groups to accept theists or atheists in their ranks otherwise (same goes fro gender, etc..).

 

I'm still curious about what harm is being done atheists beyond having to see the word God written somewhere. How does having that on a visitor center actually harm atheists in a tangible way? Beyond seeing your subjective piece of mind irritated.....:dev9:

 

@kipper--freedom of religion does not eual freedom from religion except in the sense that the all powerful state isn't forcing you to profess a specific faith.

 

@Doomie--

And finally, concerning 'theist propaganda': is the presence of the word 'God' really theist propaganda? Or is it just a word on a wall?
;) Edited by Totenkopf
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm still curious about what harm is being done atheists beyond having to see the word God written somewhere. How does having that on a visitor center actually harm atheists in a tangible way? Beyond seeing your subjective piece of mind irritated.....:dev9:

@Doomie-- ;)

 

There is no "harm" being done, it simply goes against what this nation was founded upon. If the words, "There is no God," were etched onto a governmental building, there would be no harm done to theists; yet it would break the same principle that is being broken by engraving "In God We Trust."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And finally, concerning 'theist propaganda': is the presence of the word 'God' really theist propaganda? Or is it just a word on a wall?

 

A blank wall cannot express an idea, but a wall with writing on it can, so your example and mine aren't really equal. The word 'God' in the right context could actually be part of propaganda, so it's not necissarily just 'a word on the wall'. I would say that the words 'in God we trust' on the wall of a government building is a quite different context than just a wall with the word 'God' on it, but a blank wall is a blank wall wether it is part of a government building or not.

 

EDIT: I'd like to add that the atheist group in question might be missing the point as well. The problem here is not really the engraving of the national motto and the Pledge of Allegiance in a government building. It is probably meant to inspire nationalistic feelings rather than propagate theistic views. I think the actual problem is that the motto and the Pledge *do* propagate theistic views.

 

(Not that that would be an easy problem to solve.)

Edited by Doomie
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share


×
×
  • Create New...