A national humanist group has unveiled a new billboard that replaces the word "God" in the national motto so that the new phrase reads "In Good We Trust."
The new billboard, which features an image of a U.S. quarter with the revised motto, went up last week in Moscow, Idaho. It is the latest in a series of billboards in the area sponsored by the American Humanist Association, which promotes the idea that one can be good without a belief in God.
"This billboard nicely sums up two of the main messages of the American Humanist Association," said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the AHA. "First, that you don't have to believe in God to be good –in fact, humanists and other non-theists see being good as one of the most important of responsibilities in our one and only life. Second, that church and state should remain separate for the benefit of us all."
Speckhardt argues that "In Good We Trust" is more inclusive and that the motto "In God We Trust" violates the First Amendment.
But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit last month upheld the constitutionality of references to God on national currency and in the Pledge of Allegiance.
In a 3-0 vote, the court rejected atheist Michael A. Newdow's appeal for the removal of "In God We Trust" from U.S. currency. The court panel said the motto is patriotic and ceremonial, and not religious.
"The fact is that it always has been our position that while the First Amendment affords atheists complete freedom to disbelieve, it does not compel the federal judiciary to redact religious references in every area of public life in order to suit atheistic sensibilities," stated the American Center for Law and Justice, which filed an amicus brief in the national motto case, representing nearly 50 members of Congress. "We're delighted to see the appeals court reach that conclusion with both the National Motto and the Pledge."
Besides the billboard with the Godless national motto, AHA has four others in the Moscow area. The other billboards read "Don't Believe in God? You are Not Alone," "Want a Better World? Prayer Not Required," "Million are Good Without God" and "No God? No Problem!"
"No God? No Problem!" was also the slogan AHA used for their bus ads during the 2009 Christmas season. Those ran in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, where the group is based.