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In G-d we Trust
I am a plaintiff in a case against the government printing “In God We Trust” on currency.
A major argument we will pursue is the burden that this imposes on non-believers to carry and exchange money bearing a slogan that violates their religious (non)beliefs in order to complete cash transactions.The lower court stated that it does NOT impose a “significant burden” because you can just use checks or credit cards instead.

We are working to compile specific examples of situations where it is impossible to avoid cash to complete a transaction, or alternatively where it requires additional time and expense to avoid doing so.

What examples can you give where you have to use cash to complete a transaction or where not using cash would impose additional burdens/costs to you?

A2Jennifer 8 Aug 5

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Checking accounts and credit cards have fees associated with them.

There are "cash only" lines at various stores.

When paying a kid to mow your lawn or babysit, the kid usually doesn't accept plastic or checks.

In a diverse country of many faiths, which "god" does the currency point to? The religious phrase was not originally on our currency, and seems to violate the separation of church and state. Who would it offend to remove it? Nobody. The absence of a phrase can't offend, whereas the presence of it can.

I love your brain ?

This issue has been tried several times in court, and generally been lost on account of supposed "ceremonial deism", from what I understand. Yeah, it's BS, and unethical. And the "we" makes it a false statement and/or exclusionary. But it's important to realize that it is an uphill battle.

> Who would it offend to remove it? Nobody.

This should be true, but unfortunately it isn't.


Strippers get ruffled if you are stuffing checks and money orders in their thongs! ?


I use cash a lot. It is easier and I don't have to worry about some thing or one tracking my spending habits. I also cross out the dreaded saying.FFRF is a part of this lawsuit and they offer a raffle to get clean money (no god crap) in exchange of "dirty" money. They also sell a stamp that will go over and replace the saying with "In Reason we Trust".

Glad to hear FFRF is involved.


Thanks everyone! In case anyone is curious, the reason the case is referred to as “In G-d We Trust” is that one of the plaintiffs is a member of a Jewish sect that believes this is, essentially, taking the name of the lord in vain, that it is blasphemy to print the word “God” in secular currency.

How many plaintiffs? Are the attorneys from an organization like the FFRF? Good luck! If you win I’ll buy you a dinner!

@BlueWave I’m not sure but there are lots of us, and they are pursuing in every district (12 of them) in the country up the chain of courts.


Did you ever try to put a check on a parking meter?

Some do take credit cards, but most don't. Most cities aren't going to go to the trouble of upgrading in the foreseeable future.

Baseball park vendors.

JimG Level 8 Aug 6, 2018

And some street vendors (e.g. food trucks?).


My cleaning person wants cash. Tipping bartenders! The tip jar on a performer's piano top (or sidewalk).


I really wish you the very best in your endeavor. I think we should go back to the original motto of The United States, "E Pluribus Unum". What was ever wrong with that? Why we had to differentiate ourselves for the godless communists is beyond me. Our differences are what makes us strong, the fact that we all come from different backgrounds yet are one as Americans. I think there were some great ideas mentioned already, but let me leave this. Maybe it will help.


Seems like a weak argument. And one that seems unnecessary for the argument pertaining to the establishment clause.

Having said that, I will add that not everyone has a bank account and credit cards. This usually is more true for people at the lower economic scale; certainly those living below the poverty line, but probably even some above it. Plus, not all businesses will take checks or credit cards. Chief among these are probably small local businesses. And what about yardsales and flea markets? What about a lemonade stand?

The court's saying that there are alternatives to cash seems to me to then make it mandatory for the federal government to make certain that non-cash transactions can be completed in all cases. This is a matter of ubiquitous alternative non-cash payment methods, not alternatives to which businesses one chooses to use.

  1. not having a bank account. banks these days will deny bank accounts to people with bad credit. bad credit should not mean people can't buy stuff; everyone needs to buy what they need to survive. if you don't have a bank account, you need cash. you can't use a money order at the supermarket.

  2. vending machines. some may use credit cards but some credit cards charge per transaction and the charge may amount to more than the cost of the purchase! more research may need to be done here.

  3. every citizen should have the right to use legal tender rather than something that represents legal tender (which is symbolic in and of itself but that's another story).

  4. lawn sales, garage sales, private sales. ordinary citizens don't tend to accept credit cards! if you want to buy something from a neighbor, you need cash.

  5. tips to the paper delivery person. pizza people may accept cards; other delivery folks, especially those who are not collecting payment at the moment, don't.

  6. checks are not always free; one generally has to buy them. credit cards often have fees. cash is the most direct, fee-free way to pay for something. atheists should not be forced to pay extra not to be bothered with someone else's religious declarations.



No merchant will take a check in New York City.


My yard guy only takes cash....
The vendors at farmer's markets generally only take cash
yard sales/garage sales only take cash
purchases from private sellers off apps like LetGo, OfferUP, and craigslist only take cash

we have a local Chinese Take-out place that is "cash only" and has the best prices because of that.

Private parties are not generally set up to take credit cards nor equipped to prevent check fraud.


Legal question; the Federal Reserve print and issue money. My understanding is the Fed is privately owned.
Why is your case against the govt and not the Fed?

Maybe the FR doesn’t choose the design?

In 1954 Congress passed a law adding "In God We Trust" to our currency, so there is the precedent that Congress has the power to change the currency.

@Lucignolo I think that's it exactly. As far as I know, it's the Treasury Department that chooses the designs.


That has to be a tough sell that it is a “significant burden”. While I empathize with the cause, I can't say I ever give it much thought. This is part of a bigger battle against state sponsored and endorsed religion. Whether or not it's a “significant burden” to use the currency is a red herring which only deflects from the real issue; I think your approach should be to point this out. Good luck.

godef Level 7 Aug 6, 2018


The "In God We Trust" on money never has really bothered me. I never really have taken it seriously, and have never felt affected by it. It's just there, I've always felt.

However, I think your point about the government sponsoring or endorsing a particular religion is really important.

@MST3K that's nice for you I guess, but not everyone feels that way. However, unfortunately I think you do have a point that it will be difficult to convince the court of that.

On the other side of things, it reinforces religious believers'...beliefs...especially the Christian nationalists, with the idea that some have that the US is a "Christian nation". It encourages them to wave their religious dicks around, i.e. attempt to impose their beliefs and morality on others.


I'm not a US resident, so not able to provide any instances but I do have one thought. Why not strike through the word "God" on notes that pass through your hands? If this were made into a campaign, with hundreds, or even thousands, participating then pretty soon there would be a high number of amended notes in circulation. I don't know if this is illegal, but with notes constantly changing hands it would be pretty hard to prove authorship and would serve as a very visible advertisement that plenty of people reject the idea that religion and government should be mixed.


A mudslide took out all cable based internet plus the cell towers two years ago (and killed more than 20 people) in my area. Restaurants could only accepted cash.

Many gas staions have a cash only price that is lower than if one were to use a credit card.


The entire cannabis industry requires the exclusive use of cash.

It didn’t for a while in Michigan. Briefly after medical marijuana was legalized you could use credit cards at dispensaries. My ex spent a fortune on pot before I got a bill and realized what he was doing. Took a while though because they processed the charges under some innocuous sounding name.


Some people do not have access to credit/debit cards or a checking account.

Using Cash usually gives you a 3 percent discount for gas in these parts.


At the gas pump here in Washington state many gas stations charge you extra if you use a credit or debit card instead of cash


Wouldn't a better argument be that it isn't inclusive of all Americans because 20+% of us don't believe? I just think it'll be difficult to get past that "significant burden" argument, and I don't have many significant examples to refute. Either way, the absolute best of luck to you. I hope this works.

That was the initial argument. It was the court’s espouse that it doesn’t pose a significant burden. I think it’s like, you have to show that something has actually effected you in order to sue about it.

@A2Jennifer Ah, I see. Maybe judges need to be religiously unaffiliated when they're on the clock because with that on there it isn't a neutral currency, and that should be enough to get it off. It wasn't on there until 1956, maybe THEY (proponents) should adapt to how it was an insignificant burden then. Not us adapt to it now. Well again, good luck.


If you can even find a vending machine that takes cards, it will charge you to use the card, and/or hold money from your account until the charge clears. If there is not at least the amount it holds in your account, it will reject you, same as with fueling station pumps. For example, I lived in an apartment complex with vending machines in the gym. If you used a card to get a soda, it would withhold $10 from your account until the machine's accounting software was loaded in the vendor's computer. He did not come daily to collect. So if you had $8.76 in your account, it would reject the sale. Or if you had $12 in your account, and bought a soda just after he had downloaded the info, but needed gas the next morning, you were screwed.


Flea markets , yard sales , produce stands , person to person transactions .
Drug deals ( the Cia would go broke without cash )
Gambling machines ? Beverage machines ...


"A 2015 survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) found that 26.9 percent of American households had either no bank at all or relied on nonbanking institutions for financial services. (These numbers are up to four times higher in black and Hispanic communities than for white Americans.) "

Kirsten Gillibrand Has an Ambitious Plan to Take on Payday Lenders: The Post Office, Mother Jones, Aug 6 2018

Same article

“Many low-income families across the country don’t have any access to even the most basic banking services like checking accounts and debit cards.."


What about people who have not yet established enough credit to qualify for a credit card?
I once had a check refused because I didn't have a credit card to back up it.
What if your credit card gets damaged and you have to resort to cash?
What if your credit card account gets frozen because someone hacked it and you have to resort to cash?
How many people do you know that carry their checkbook around with them. If something goes wrong with your credit card on the spot you almost always have to resort to cash.


Strippers and coke dealers only deal with cash. OK, perhaps not the best example 😉

But it says RIGHT ON your currency that it is legal tender for all debts, public and private. No other form of payment says that.

And unlike the English language, the US dollar IS government-sanctioned, official currency.

Additionally, our tax dollars are used for the printing and minting of currency. As some of the coins cost more to make than their face value, it is a process underwritten by our taxes,

Ozman Level 7 Aug 7, 2018

That was actually one of the examples the lawyer made - sometimes people prefer not to have a paper trail for a “private” purchase. But if you’re too shy to put a sex toy on your credit card, you probably aren’t going to offer to put it on record with the court ?


You can't write a check to a person, unless that person not only has a bank account, but can cover the amount of the check in that bank account. A check is not available money at night. It may take your bank 3-5 days to clear a check.

Kids can't use checks to play pinball.

^^ indoctrination of children

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