Satanist Loses: 'In God We Trust' Will Remain on Currency Jul 4, 2018 12:03:38 GMT -5
Post by Joanna on Jul 4, 2018 12:03:38 GMT -5
Satanist Loses Bid to Remove 'In God We Trust' from Currency
Kenneth Mayle, 36, a self-described Chicago Satanist, lost his latest round in court to have “In God We Trust” stripped from U.S. currency.
He filed the federal lawsuit in May 2017 against the U.S. government, arguing that carrying around the currency forces him and others like him to spread a religious message that conflicts with his beliefs; according to court papers, he is a practitioner of “non-theistic Satanism.”
A judge tossed the case, and Mayle appealed. But the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the lower court’s decision to dismiss the case, explaining in part that “a reasonable observer would not perceive the motto on currency as a religious endorsement.” The court continued, saying, “The inclusion of the motto on currency is similar to other ways in which secular symbols give a nod to the nation’s religious heritage,” such as reciting “one nation under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance.
The appeals court decision came days before another high-profile religious-freedom case made a new round of headlines when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of a Colorado baker who had refused to make a cake for a gay wedding. The court determined the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which had ruled against the baker, was unfairly dismissive of his religious beliefs. The court did not rule on whether businesses will be able to deny providing services to same-sex weddings based on religious beliefs, The Associated Press reported.
As for Mayle, he is considering what his next move might be, telling the Tribune, “I definitely have some problems with their [the court’s] logic.”
Following is a quick summary on both the language that appears on U.S. money and the federal appeals court’s ruling:
‘In God We Trust’ on U.S. money for more than 150 years. Since the Civil War, most coins have contained the motto “In God We Trust,” but it wasn’t until 1955 that a law was passed requiring the saying to appear on all U.S. currency, according to the U.S. House of Representatives website. Rep. Charles Bennett, a Democrat from Florida, introduced the bill that would later become law, arguing that the motto would serve as a constant reminder of the country’s spiritual faith. He and others evoked the ensuing Cold War as reasoning for why it was important to include the motto on U.S. currency. “In these days when imperialistic and materialistic communism seeks to attack and destroy freedom, we should continually look for ways to strengthen the foundations of our freedom,” Bennett was quoted as saying at the time. Bennett’s efforts were successful, and by 1957, dollars were circulating with the motto “In God We Trust.”
Given this history, why did Mayle decide to sue? He initially began questioning the motto a couple of years ago when he started digging into the symbolism of printed money. Mayle said he didn’t think elected leaders would step in to make a change, so he decided to do it through the courts. “Right now, you have a lot of politicians that are reflecting their religious views and laws and pushing toward the Trump mentality, nationalism,” he said of President Donald Trump and his supporters. “Someone has to present the other side. You just can’t protest in the streets. You have to put things in front of judges.”
One of the cases he looked at as he mounted his legal challenge was Hobby Lobby’s Supreme Court victory. In 2014, the nation’s highest court ruled that the arts and crafts chain was exempt from providing health care coverage for contraception because of a religious freedom exemption. The lawsuit had been a challenge to the Affordable Care Act.
How about using credit, debit cards instead? Mayle said that in carrying around and spending money with the “God” motto on it, he feels compelled to participate in a “submissive ritual” that he doesn’t believe in. He still pays for goods and services with cash, but only because he’s forced to do so, he claims. This is because he doesn’t like relying on credit or debit bank cards from savings institutions that impose late or overdraft fees. He also cites security breaches at banks as another reason he doesn’t want to rely solely on credit and debit cards. “It’s really a no-win situation if I’m using cash or credit,” Mayle said. “Ideally, I would like to be able to use cryptocurrency. The system makes more sense to a person who doesn’t want to use either.”
Source: Elvia Malagon, The Chicago Tribune, June 5, 2018.