Seeking to give Americans a way of petitioning President Barack Obama on certain issues, the White House has launched the "We the People" website in an effort to facilitate such discourse. Among the many petitions on the week-old website are two seeking to have God "dropped" from the Pledge of Allegiance and from U.S. currency.
A petition created on Sept. 22 by "Dimitar T," entitled "Edit the Pledge of Allegiance to remove the phrase 'Under God,'" has attracted more than 13,000 votes and is the fourth most popular petition on the White House's "We the People" website.
The peition claims, "The Pledge of Allegiance is said every day in schools across America. It is a government sanctioned speech, and should remain neutral in matters of religion. In its current state, it supports the existence of God, which goes against several religions, and supports others. This bias should not be supported by the country according to the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution."
Another petition attracting signatures on "We the People," is one calling for the removal of "In God We Trust" from U.S. currency.
That petition, also started by "Dimitar T" on Sept. 22, has attracted 8,792 signatures as of Monday afternoon. The petition claims the phrase "In God We Trust" is "unconstitutional."
"It supports one religion over another, and should be removed from all currency. It violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. This phrase should be removed from created currency," user "Dimitar T." explains on the petition.
According to Kim Colby, Senior Counsel at Christian Legal Society's Center for Law and Religious Freedom, the mention of God in the Pledge of Allegiance and on U.S. currency does not violate the Constitution, as the phrases are viewed as "a patriot exercise or ceremony" and not a religious exercise.
"Our founding documents declaring independence explain that inalienable rights come from our creator," Colby told The Christian Post Monday. "This whole idea that government doesn't give us our right but that God does is embedded in the Declaration of Independence and the American political philosophy, so it is not incompatible to have 'under God' in the pledge."
Lawsuits that have attempted to do what these two anti-God petitions call for "have not gone far," according to Colby.
The initial threshold for a "We the People" petition to be reviewed by the White House for an "official response" requires that the petition accumulates 5,000 signatures in 30 days.
Once a petition hits that threshold, the White House supposedly reviews the petition and requests that the "appropriate policy exerts" respond.
The petitions organized by "Dimitar T" have amassed more than the minimum signatures required in about one week. It was unclear if the White House will consider the anti-God petitions for review, as indicated in the guidelines on "We the People."
A search on "We the People" reveals that these two petitions initiated by the user "Dimitar T" are the only ones that mention "God." A petition must have at least 150 signatures to be publicly discoverable in the "We the People" database.
The White House explains that "We the People" provides Americans a "new way to petition the Obama Administration to take action on a range of important issues facing our country."
"When I ran for this office, I pledged to make government more open and accountable to its citizens. That’s what the new We the People feature on WhiteHouse.gov is all about – giving Americans a direct line to the White House on the issues and concerns that matter most to them," Obama says in a statement on the website.