Monday, June 12, 2006

U.S. court tosses lawsuit over "In God We Trust"

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A U.S. district court judge on Monday dismissed a lawsuit brought by a California atheist against the U.S. government for its use of the phrase "In God We Trust" on its coins and currency.

Michael Newdow, the Sacramento, California lawyer and doctor who had previously launched a court challenge on behalf of his daughter over the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance said in schools, had argued that "In God We Trust" on monetary instruments violates his rights.

Newdow claimed that by using coins and currency bearing the phrase, he is forced to carry religious dogma, proselytize and evangelize for monotheism.

Judge Frank Damrell of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California held in his opinion that "In God We Trust" is secular in nature and use, and its appearance on coins and currency does not show government coercion on behalf of monotheism.

Newdow told Reuters he would appeal to the San Francisco-based U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled in his favor in his "under God" lawsuit, a decision later overruled by the

U.S. Supreme Court, which found Newdow could sue not on behalf of his daughter because he lacked custody.

"The case is really straightforward. The history is overwhelmingly on my side," Newdow said.

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