The atheist activist best known for his efforts to remove under God from the Pledge of Allegiance has now set his sights on taking out In God we Trust from U.S. currency. Christian groups say its an infringement upon the Christian heritage of the nation to remove such a reference.
Michael Newdow, of Sacramento, Calif., said he planned to file the federal lawsuit this week, according to the Associated Press. He alleges that the national motto, adopted in 1954 by Congress, is an unconstitutional endorsement of religion.
"He wants to use the federal courts to make his atheism the official religion of America," wrote the American Family Association in an e-mail message to its supporters.
In 2004, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a suit over the Pledge of Allegiance involving Newdow on a technicality because he did not have custody of his daughter. The court did not rule on the legality of the phrase under God.
Newdow then took up a similar case over the pledge, suing on behalf of two parents with children in his area. That case is currently in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which had initially ruled in favor of Newdow.
The AFA says it wants to collect 1 million signatures to pass a constitutional amendment that would guarantee the use of the national motto and the Pledge of Allegiance. Last year, Rep. Chip Pickering (R-Miss.) introduced a similar amendment in the House of Representatives.
Family Research Council Tony Perkins says that activist judges have the potential to make Mr. Newdow lethal.
I've debated Mr. Newdow over his attempt to remove God from the pledge and it would be tempting to write him off as an American aberration, but we cant, Perkins said in an e-mail message to FRC supporters.
Earlier this month FRC launched an ad called Sandblasting in five states which shows a worker removing mentions of God in public monuments.
Liberals, who share Mr. Newdows goal of erasing Americas Christian heritage, have put their money on activist judges as the best way to accomplish that goal, Perkins commented.