Another attempt to remove “In God We Trust” from U.S. currency has been foiled by the courts… but this one was always a long shot.
This past May, a self-described “non-theistic Satanist” from Illinois, Kenneth Mayle, filed a lawsuit against Congress, the country itself, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, and others arguing that the religious phrase “substantially burdened” his free exercise of religion and free speech rights.
Even the lawsuit’s $400 filing fee hurt him badly, he said.
If Plaintiff were to have children, he would face additional societal pressure, at the government’s direction, to submit his will and his children’s will to this single supernatural deity, in total contradiction to his own beliefs.
The statement “In God We Trust” is a pervasive attack on Plaintiff’s right to follow and trust in his own will, rather than “God’s” will. In fact, in a final injury to Plaintiff, in order to file a lawsuit protecting his First Amendment freedoms, Plaintiff was forced to earn money that carries a message in opposition to the deeply held beliefs he is seeking to protect.
Mayle specifically said that the phrase violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), Congress’ “enumerated power” limitation, the Equal Protection Clause, and both the First Amendment’s Free Speech Clause and Free Exercise Clause.
Unfortunately for Mayle, his attempt to remove the phrase from U.S. currency didn’t get anywhere. On Friday, U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve threw out his complaint, saying that each of his claims failed to meet proper standards.
… In fact, it is well-settled that the nation’s motto “In God We Trust” on currency does not violate the Free Exercise Clause or RFRA.
Pro se Plaintiff’s Equal Protection Clause Claim necessarily fails because the statutes allowing for the engraving and printing of currency affect all citizens equally — regardless of their religious beliefs.
In the context of compelled speech, the Supreme Court, in dicta, rejected Plaintiff’s argument approximately forty years ago.
Mayle represented himself and wasn’t working with any national organizations. For now, the Satanist’s efforts to repeal the godly phrase have gone up in flames.
(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Brian for the link)