30 July, 2011

July 30, 1956

President Dwight D. Eisenhower (R-USA) signs Public Law 84-851 which authorizes In God We Trust as the United States national motto. This was mostly a formality as it had been used on U.S. coins since 1864.

It has been challenged many times as a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. All challenges have, quite obviously, failed.

[T]he United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled: "It is quite obvious that the national motto and the slogan on coinage and currency 'In God We Trust' has nothing whatsoever to do with the establishment of religion. Its use is of patriotic or ceremonial character and bears no true resemblance to a governmental sponsorship of a religious exercise."[9] The decision was cited in Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow, a 2004 case on thePledge of Allegiance. In Lynch v. Donnelly (1984), the Supreme Court upheld the motto because it has "lost through rote repetition any significant religious content". So-called acts of "ceremonial deism" have supposedly lost their "history, character, and context".[10] In 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.

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