SACRAMENTO (AP) – A federal judge on Monday rejected a lawsuit from an atheist who said the use of "In God We Trust" on U.S. coins violated his First Amendment rights.
U.S. District Judge Frank C. Damrell Jr. said the minted words amounted to a secular national slogan that did not trample on Michael Newdow's religious views.
"There is no proper allegation that the government compelled plaintiff to affirm a repugnant belief in monotheism," Damrell said in dismissing the suit.
Newdow, a Sacramento doctor and lawyer, also lost an effort two years ago to have the Pledge of Allegiance banned from public schools because it contains the words "under God."
He took his pledge fight to the U.S. Supreme Court, which said he lacked standing to bring the case because he didn't have custody of the daughter on whose behalf be brought the case.
A Sacramento federal judge sided with Newdow last September after he filed an identical lawsuit on behalf of parents with children in three Sacramento-area school districts. The case is pending before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Informed of the "In God We Trust" decision on Monday, Newdow said he was not disappointed because it would give him an edge in an appeal.
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