What is everyone’s opinion on this? Do you think it violates the 1st amendment to have “In God We Trust” on American currency?
The Founders had no trouble differentiating between a government-sponsored religion and general statements regarding the existence of a deity. What has changed is public perception of what constitutes religion and sensitivity to it. So the question becomes whether to interpret the Constitution by an original understanding of “establishment of religion,” or by some modern sense of that phrase. So the way you’ve phrased your question is astute in asking our opinions on the meaning of the Constitution - and also suggests and answer to Frink’s question.
If enough people are offended by seeing religious elements in public or governmental places, maybe the courts will get around to decided that the Constitution forbids it. I find that a troubling way of reading the Constitution and I prefer giving the Constitution’s words a more limited meaning. It helps that “In God We Trust” is such a general phrase, rather than something like “In Jesus We Trust.” I don’t think either statement compels anyone to follow a religion, but the latter strongly suggests a state-sponsored religion. The unspecific nature of “In God We Trust” along with a history of not punishing people for not believing suggests there is no establishment issue.
I see credibility in an argument for voting to remove that phrase out of sensitivity to others’ beliefs (including the argument that it is sacrilegious to invoke God on currency). I just don’t think the Constitution demands that we do so.
In the article, the plaintiff’s view is at one point described as “she is forced against her will to accept and re-distribute to others a message that goes wholly against her beliefs.” That sounds more like a free speech issue. The Supreme Court has held that people cannot be forced to display slogans on their license plates they disagree with (in a case dealing with the phrase “Live Free or Die”), because it basically turns their personal property (their vehicle) into a billboard for someone else’s message. Money is different because the message is contained entirely on the bill, but there’s some argument there.
Then again, some would argue that the Supreme Court is wrong in giving the Free Speech Clause such broad meaning as it has.
tl;dr: I don’t think it’s an establishment of religion to print the statement “In God We Trust” but I understand the sensitivity to it.