Editor’s Note: Steven K. Green is the Fred H. Paulus Professor of Law and director of the Center for Religion, Law & Democracy at Willamette University College of Law in Salem, Oregon. Green, who served as legal director of Americans United from 1992—2001, is the author of several books on church-state relations, most recently Inventing a Christian America: The Myth of the Religious Founding (Oxford University Press). Green discussed his new book with Church & State Editor Rob Boston recently. Read more
Eleven legislative rooms in the Kentucky Statehouse will display signs reading “In God We Trust” thanks to a private donor.
The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that the signs are a temporary measure, and they will eventually be replaced by permanent displays that will show an updated version of the state seal in addition to the national motto. The Kentucky legislature passed a measure calling for the signs in 2006.
Kentucky Senate President, Robert Stivers (R-Manchester) gave an explicitly sectarian rationale for the measure. Read more
Officials in Ballwin, Mo., have voted 6-2 not to accept a donation to display the motto “In God We Trust” in its board room.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the Holy Infant Parish and Knights of Columbus offered to donate $750 to pay for the sign, with supporters arguing that the motto merely represents patriotism, and not religious fervor. A spokesman for the Knights of Columbus noted that the motto was adopted in the 1950s and is historical, rather than religious. Read more
An Alabama atheist who spoke out against a proposed “In God We Trust” display at Mobile’s Government Plaza is facing the sort of vicious backlash that has become far too common for those who challenge government-sponsored religion. Read more
A group of atheists in New York lost its battle to remove the words “In God We Trust” from currency in May.
The 11 plaintiffs in the case argued that the phrase represents an official establishment of religion, and therefore violated the First Amendment, reported Religion News Service.
But the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed, finding that the national motto didn’t endorse religion; further, the plaintiffs’ free exercise was not burdened by carrying currency that featured the motto. Read more
A Pennsylvania state legislator is pushing a bill that would require public schools in the state to post “In God We Trust” signs – but he insists religion has nothing to do with it.
Rep. Rick Saccone (R-Allegheny/Washington) says he merely wants to honor the anniversary of the first appearance of “In God We Trust” on coins, which occurred 150 years ago. Read more
Posting “In God We Trust” signs in city and county government buildings has become all the rage in California.
The drive is spearheaded by a Bakersfield woman named Jacquie Sullivan who persuaded officials in her town to adopt the motto and then took the crusade to other cities. The most recent town to approve the motto is Port Hueneme in Ventura County. The vote was 4-1. Read more