Pharyngula

We’ve got a poll that needs crashing!

OK, I’m sure you’re all dying to crash a poll that really needs it. I’ve seen a bunch of you begging for this one in the comments of the last few posts. So here it is…

msnbc asks: Should the phrase ‘In God we Trust’ be removed from US currency?

Right now the poll is at 49% yes, and 51% no. Obviously we have some work to do. Get to it!

From LisaJ

Comments

  1. #1 negentropyeater
    August 17, 2008

    Finally !
    Done.

    I got rid of all my $ anyways, didn’t like the “In God we trust” thingy. At least Euros are clean…

  2. #2 Mr-Zero
    August 17, 2008

    Here’s a more direct
    link to the poll
    Z

  3. #3 Marcus Ranum
    August 17, 2008

    I think it should say “in cthulhu we trust” – then it’d be fine. Or “in allah we trust”

    Is the FSM going to file an amicus bolognese?

  4. #4 Jared Lessl
    August 17, 2008

    Likewise, we should continue stoning a random person chosen by lottery every year to ensure a good harvest. After all, it has historic, patriotic, and traditional significance and does nothing to establish a state principle of inflicting whim death on the populace.

    Sorry PZ, this one is rapidly coming up to a million votes. I don’t think your cyberpistol has enough ammo to swamp this one.

  5. #5 LisaJ
    August 17, 2008

    Yeah Jared, there are alot of votes up there already, so we’ve REALLY got our work cut out for us. By the way, just wanted to clarify that I made this post and not PZ… but he’ll be back tomorrow I think.

    negentropyeater, good call there. However, I don’t know why everyone doesn’t just switch to Canadian money. We’ve got none of this god BS on our cash, and it’s just so damn pretty. Plus, it’s just as good, or sometimes even better, than American money lately.

  6. #6 Marcus Ranum
    August 17, 2008

    Not that the poll means anything, but if the country were actually divided nearly 50/50 on this topic, then removing the offending words would be the only courteous response. They aren’t necessary.

  7. #7 Jared Lessl
    August 17, 2008

    Whoops, thanks for the clarification there, LisaJ.

    Marcus: No kidding! It was a stupid decision made for stupid reasons. They replaced a perfectly good motto (E pluribus unum) with one that is both factually incorrect and legally dubious (at best). If the best argument they’ve got for keeping it is, “Well it’s already been there so long, and we’d have to replace all those dies and engravings”, then there’s every reason to ditch it and no reason not to.

  8. #8 Feynmaniac
    August 17, 2008

    Yeah but our Canadian money has the head of the Queen. Trading theocracy for monarchy isn’t a vasy improvement.

  9. #9 Ed
    August 17, 2008

    I hate to burst anyone’s bubble but that’s from 2005.
    If you want to do anything, please consider signing my worthless but fun petition!

    http://www.gopetition.com/online/18938.html

  10. #10 maxi
    August 17, 2008

    It was still 49/51 when I voted Yes.

  11. #11 Rachel
    August 17, 2008

    The court’s justification is that it’s a “national motto?” Maybe it’s time to rethink the nation’s motto if half the constituency doesn’t like it and is not filled with patriotism when hearing it.

  12. #12 Mike
    August 17, 2008

    Keep these coming ;)

  13. #13 Miko
    August 17, 2008

    @4,6: It’s been bandying about for a few days already on other sites. When I first saw it the split was 9/91, so the fact that we’re in a tie now shows that pointing this out to pro-Constitution types has already been having the desired effect. And now that Pharyngula has it…

  14. #14 BobC
    August 17, 2008

    I live in a backward country that has the name of a magic sky fairy on its money. Meanwhile the British have a famous scientist, Charles Darwin (The Man Who Killed God), on their money.

    Perhaps it’s trivial to complain about In God We Trust on our currency, but it’s important to fight every minor violation of the wall of separation between religious woo-woo and our government. If we fight the little things, the Christian theocrats might notice they will never be allowed to get away with worse things like sticking magical creation into science education.

  15. #15 muchell mesaventur
    August 17, 2008

    I’ve always thought that “In Mammon we Trust” would be more appropriate…too bad usury is no longer a sin in the eyes of an imaginary god’s “culture warriors”

  16. #16 negentropyeater
    August 17, 2008

    We have bridges, a vague map of Europe and some architectual drawings.

    I’d hate to be reminded everytime I buy a beer, a package of condoms, or a packet of cigarettes, that I’m supposed to trust someone who I don’t know exist for I don’t know what reason…

  17. #17 rebelest
    August 17, 2008

    BobC in comment#14 wrote:

    Perhaps it’s trivial to complain about In God We Trust on our currency, but it’s important to fight every minor violation of the wall of separation between religious woo-woo and our government.

    But getting “INGWT” removed from U.S. currency is hardly a trivial pursuit. Instead, it is arguably the most important task for American secularism. “INGWT” and “under God” in the “Pledge of Allegiance” are often cited as justification for other violations of the First Amendment both in court cases and by those in the general public who support the violations.

  18. #18 ElectricBarbarella
    August 17, 2008

    While I agree with the sentiment of having it removed, I do have a serious question to ask: Just how is this going to be accomplished?

    Don’t say “print more money”–that’s not easy to do. And you still have all the money in circulation with it printed on there, what do you do about the circulation money?

    How would something this large an undertaking, be carried out successfully?

    toni

  19. #19 leo
    August 17, 2008

    At least Euros are clean…
    The Dutch 1 and 2 Euro coins have on the side “god zij met ons” (god be with us).

  20. #20 WTFWJD
    August 17, 2008

    Each of my five browsers voted their conscience.

  21. #21 negentropyeater
    August 17, 2008

    leo,

    shit I didn’t think about these damn coins…
    Euro banknotes are clean at least, we can be happy they weren’t designed solely by the Dutch.

  22. #22 negentropyeater
    August 17, 2008

    ElectricBarbarella,

    new notes are being printed every week, old notes are being destroyed every week. After X1 years, most of the money currently in crculation will have anyway been replaced. This happens all the time. You don’t have to do anything special. Just decide that the new money being printed every week will not have this “In God we trust”, and after X1 years, you will hardly see it anymore. After X2(>X1) years, whatever few banknotes remain are taken out of circulation.
    During those X2 years both versions have legal tender. After, you have X3 years during which you can exchange them at a Bank.

    This process is not new, happened many times before in history.

  23. #23 Sam
    August 17, 2008

    ElectricBarbarella: All that needs to be done is to remove the motto from new coins and currency. Paper and coins wear out, and are continually being replaced anyway.

  24. #24 sam
    August 17, 2008

    Friendly Atheist got the poll from 2% to 49%

  25. #25 Deputy Dan
    August 17, 2008

    The funny thing is that back when it was first proposed, in the early 1930s, to put “In God We Trust” on US money many religious people protested the idea based on the idea that money was the “root of all evil” and was used for fun, excuse me, I meant to say “sinful”, stuff like buying drugs, paying prostitutes, and gambling. Other religiously motivated individuals felt otherwise, of course, and pushed the issue until it was approved.

  26. #26 Dutch Delight
    August 17, 2008

    @ElectricBarbarella
    “Don’t say “print more money”–that’s not easy to do.”

    It’s not?

    The printing is easy as the current US administration demonstrates. Keeping track of those billions after they leave the military cargo plane in Iraq, now thats hard.

  27. #27 BobC
    August 17, 2008

    rebelest (#17):

    But getting “INGWT” removed from U.S. currency is hardly a trivial pursuit.

    Of course you’re right. If it were up to me the word “God” would be completely purged from every federal, state, and local government. Chaplains would be fired from the military. There would be no daily prayer in the Senate or anywhere else in government. Bible classes in public schools would be thrown out. There would be absolutely no mention of religion in any American public school. Politicians would be encouraged to shut up about their religious beliefs. Students would be required to learn evolution, even if they are home schooled. If the teacher is a creationist, he or she wouldn’t be allowed to teach anything to anyone. I wouldn’t even let a creationist teach arithmetic. These people are insane and students have the right to be taught by a sane person.

    I say keep the woo-woo in churches and private homes, and not allow it anywhere else.

  28. #28 Onkel Bob
    August 17, 2008

    The funny thing is that back when it was first proposed, in the early 1930s, to put “In God We Trust” on US money…

    nq – IGWT was added in 1863 during the Civil War. IMO, the funny thing is that we didn’t trust god with our money for the first 80+ years of minting coinage.

  29. #29 MH
    August 17, 2008

    18, 2005

    It’s a bit old, don’t you think?

  30. #30 Paper Hand
    August 17, 2008

    #5
    We’ve got none of this god BS on our cash, and it’s just so damn pretty.

    Actually, your coins do. It’s abbreviated Latin, but you do have “Elizabeth II d.g. regina”, which means “By the grace of God queen”. You’re not proclaiming your trust in God, but you are proclaiming that God chose your head of state.

    #7
    They replaced a perfectly good motto (E pluribus unum) with one that is both factually incorrect and legally dubious (at best).

    E Pluribus Unum is still on the money, along with In God We Trust.

    #18
    Just how is this going to be accomplished?

    Don’t say “print more money”–that’s not easy to do. And you still have all the money in circulation with it printed on there, what do you do about the circulation money?

    Just keep stop making money with the motto. $1 bills have an average circulation life of around 18 months. They’ll disappear pretty quickly. Higher-denomination bills will take a few years to disappear, but it’s pretty rare these days to find even $20′s from before the mid-90′s any more. Coins last longer, around 25 years or so on average, so they’ll stick around for quite a while, but they’ll gradually disappear, too. And once they become scare enough, collectors will start snatching up the remaining IGWT coins.

    IGWT bills will probably largely disappear in a decade or so. Coins, it’ll be rare to find one in maybe 20 years or so.

    In principle, you could simply remove all the IGWT currency from circulation and replace them with new IGWT-less currency, but that would be pretty expensive.

  31. #31 AnswersInGenitals
    August 17, 2008

    Is it a violation of any federal law, such as those against defacing bills and coinage, to indelibly ink over the motto on bills, or grind the the motto on coins, (or to give George a handlebar mustache, e. g.)?

  32. #32 Paper Hand
    August 17, 2008

    Is it a violation of any federal law, such as those against defacing bills and coinage, to indelibly ink over the motto on bills, or grind the the motto on coins, (or to give George a handlebar mustache, e. g.)?

    As far as I know, no. Defacing laws in the US (some countries are different, but we’re talking US here) only apply if the serial number is covered or if the alteration makes it difficult to determine the denomination. At least, that’s my understanding of it. It’s not at all illegal to write on bills, as long as you’re not advertising in doing so.

  33. #33 LisaJ
    August 17, 2008

    #5
    We’ve got none of this god BS on our cash, and it’s just so damn pretty.

    Actually, your coins do. It’s abbreviated Latin, but you do have “Elizabeth II d.g. regina”, which means “By the grace of God queen”. You’re not proclaiming your trust in God, but you are proclaiming that God chose your head of state.

    Damn, that sucks to find out.

  34. #34 ElectricBarbarella
    August 17, 2008

    I understand that we could just print new bills without the motto on them, but has anyone or does anyone actually know what goes in to making a bill? I’ve watched a few shows on this (How it’s made, Discovery) and it isn’t exactly as easy to “just make new ones”. It’s a very long, detailed and expense riddled project.

    I guess the better question would be “Is it economically feasible to do this, knowing exactly what goes in to making a single bill and how it is done?”

    Toni

  35. #35 AnswersInGenitals
    August 17, 2008

    I actually like having “in god we trust” on our money and, in particular, displayed in our courtrooms for the sheer irony of it. If we really trusted in god to provide for our needs we wouldn’t need a monetary system, and if we trusted in god to establish justice in our world, we wouldn’t need a judiciary system. The existence of these two very human institutions is a tribute to our lack of trust in god.

  36. #36 Deputy Dan
    August 17, 2008

    Right, Onkel Bob. It was first added to some coins in the 1860s, but then it was removed, on various coins at various times, and reappeared likewise at various times, but there was no consistent policy until the 1930s. Prior to then it had been justified by various acts of Congress that allowed for mottoes, devices, and whatnot to be used in coinage designs, and “In God We Trust” was used among them, as well as things like “God, Liberty, Law” and “Our God Our Country”. The debate flared up and receded, along with the various designs, and it reached a major point in the 30s, with Christians aligning on both sides of the questions. It didn’t appear at all on paper currency until the 1950s.

    So, I guess I shouldn’t have said “when it was first” put on our money, I should have said “when the debate reached it’s pinnacle prior to adoption of a consistent usage”

  37. #37 Tony Sidaway
    August 17, 2008

    That’ll be a stiff one to shift. Sure it’s at 49%, but 916570 people have already voted.

  38. #38 John McKay
    August 17, 2008

    The court’s justification is that it’s a “national motto?”

    I thought the national motto was “E Pluribus Unum.”

    Right now the poll is 50:50.

  39. #39 phantomreader42
    August 17, 2008

    Answers In Genitals @ #31:

    Is it a violation of any federal law, such as those against defacing bills and coinage, to indelibly ink over the motto on bills, or grind the the motto on coins, (or to give George a handlebar mustache, e. g.)?

    As I understand it, it is a crime to alter any bill with fraudulent intent, or in such a way as to make it unspendable. As scratching out the godbothering is not done fraudulently, does not obscure the value, and does not prevent spending, there is no law against it. I’ve been doing it to every bill that crosses my hands for months.

  40. #40 negentropyeater
    August 17, 2008

    It’s a very long, detailed and expense riddled project.

    To simply take out “IGWT”, quick enough and cheap enough

    “Is it economically feasible to do this, knowing exactly what goes in to making a single bill and how it is done?”

    Yes.

    Any other “concern” ?

  41. #41 ElectricBarbarella
    August 17, 2008

    I have to disagree. The process to make a single dollar bill is not “quick” or “cheap”.
    Here is a simplistic explanation: http://library.thinkquest.org/5395/How_money_is_made.html

    And since I quoted the “How It’s Made” show (or it’s called How Stuff Works): http://videos.howstuffworks.com/howstuffworks/54-how-money-is-made-video.htm

    Each of those steps goes far beyond “remove it from the bill”.

    Here is another, more detailed link(add the www, I removed it so this post doesn’t end up in mod queue): moneymuseum.com/standard_english/raeume/geld_machen/werkstatt/papiergeld/papierdruck/papierdruck_unten.html

    Listen, I agree with removing it. I do. I just don’t think it is economically feasible to remove it and I don’t feel that it is a “quick” and “cheap” thing to do.

    toni

  42. #42 Ed H.
    August 17, 2008

    The poll is currently at a 50/50 tie.

  43. #43 negentropyeater
    August 17, 2008

    I just don’t think it is economically feasible to remove it

    Is it economically feasible to organize a national day of prayer ?

  44. #44 ElectricBarbarella
    August 17, 2008

    (would someone tell me the html code for this board?)

    @negentropyeater: IF it does not cost anything to “organize” it beyond “Hey, let’s all have a day of prayer” (meaning: just words), then it isn’t hurting the economy in any way to have it.

    If, however, the government puts money in to it (advertising campaigns, printing, paying people, etc..), then NO, it is not economically feasible.

    EG: If you wish to organize a “National Atheist’s Day”–please do so, as long as you are using your own money to do it with. But if you require any type of governmental funding for this organization, then it is not economically feasible to support your group.

    If the government can come up with a way to remove those words without spending any more money than it needs to(those things cost money just to design, long before it even goes to print), then change it and do it quickly. But since this is the government we are talking about, it will end up costing more money to change it (let’s not forget all the special interest groups who are going to stick their .02$ in this) and thus, not make it as economically feasible a process as it should be.

    toni

  45. #45 Triphesas
    August 17, 2008

    My money tends to not say that. I edit it CIA-style: with a big black pen.

    All the same though, the poll is from almost three years ago.

  46. #46 JoJo
    August 17, 2008

    (would someone tell me the html code for this board?)

    Regular, common or garden, everyday ISO 15445 HTML 4.01 works here.

  47. #47 ElectricBarbarella
    August 17, 2008

    Alright, let’s see if this works:
    [quote]Regular, common or garden, everyday ISO 15445 HTML 4.01 works here.[/quote]

    If it doesn’t, you’ll have to forgive me for that one. :)

    toni

  48. #48 Peter Vesuwalla
    August 17, 2008

    I think American atheists have bigger fish to fry than the U.S. mint. I’d be more concerned with amending the state constitutions that discriminate against atheists before battling over the money. Check out http://www.godlessgeeks.com/LINKS/StateConstitutions.htm.

    Personally, I like that you have “In God We Trust” on the money. There’s a certain sense of poetic irony that every single dollar the Enron executives stole from their shareholders, every dollar spent on drugs, every dollar spent on guns, every bribe, every hookers’ trick, and just about every nasty bit of corruption that goes on, all has something to do with this God character everybody seems to love so much. Hell, if the Christian Right had its way and abortion was banned, the back-ally market would be a cash-only business.

    I’d be less worried about the word “God” on the money than I would be about the trace amounts of cocaine on it.

  49. #49 Cath the Canberra Cook
    August 17, 2008

    Use proper html angle brackets, < like this > – not the vBulletin [square ones] common on discussion boards.

  50. #50 negentropyeater
    August 17, 2008

    ElectricbBarbarella,

    1. you should type :

    <blockquote> this is the text </blockquote>

    2.

    If, however, the government puts money in to it (advertising campaigns, printing, paying people, etc..), then NO, it is not economically feasible.

    So this is your definition of economically feasible ? Any project in which the governement puts money into is deemed not economically feasible ?

  51. #51 Michael DePaula
    August 17, 2008

    Still at 50/50. *sigh*

  52. #52 Aquaria
    August 17, 2008

    If, however, the government puts money in to it (advertising campaigns, printing, paying people, etc..), then NO, it is not economically feasible.

    Obviously, you have never worked in printing. All any printer has to do to change a standard form, be it money or a credit card application, is make a new master plate with any necessary changes (or removals). That’s it. The US mint does that all the time, like when we get a new Secretary of the Treasury, and maybe only a nutbar wonders about the cost of doing that.

    BTW, was anybody complaining about the cost of making paper money more resistant to fraud and forgery with things like watermarks and more complex colorations? Other than a few nutbars, no.

    Conclusion: The cost argument is moot.

    Reality: U R doing it wrong.

  53. #53 JoJo
    August 17, 2008

    Still at 50/50. *sigh*

    There’s 1,003,191 responses, so over ten thousand responses are one percent.

  54. #54 ElectricBarbarella
    August 17, 2008

    So this is your definition of economically feasible ? Any project in which the governement puts money into is deemed not economically feasible ?

    Couldn’t we agree, though, that truly anything the government does can be deemed “not economically feasible”–in an “haha that’s funny” sort of way?

    Last night, on the Saddleback Forum with Obama/McCain, Warren asked both of them if they felt faith based groups should be able to hire/fire anyone they wish AND still be allowed to accept federal funding. I won’t bore you with the full details, but this is my line of thinking–a National Day of Prayer is based on a faith based group that could/does accept federal funding.

    Since they do, they should not be allowed to do things that could be deemed “economically not feasible”–because they’d be spending federal money to do it with.

    Likewise, there is now a group trying to get the motto removed from our money. That the group requesting this does not accept federal funds, doesn’t matter. It only means that they are allowed to protest the motto on the money and use their own funds to get it removed.

    If, however, they request federal funds to finance this campaign, I’d deem it “economically not feasible” because I feel they’d be wasting federal money on something so trivial(keep in mind, that I agree this works for both sides, not just ours).

    That those funds (federal) are used to design/print/everything else that goes in to money making, if this organization were to request federal funds to finance their campaign for removal of the motto, that means there is less funding for the printing of the money (with or without the motto).

    Basically, now that I’ve talked myself into a circle–any project the government puts money in to that would take money away from more meaningful projects, I would deem “economically not feasible”. And currently, reprinting billions of dollars worth of money just so it removes the motto, is not economically feasible, when there are better places the money spent to do this with, could go.

    toni

  55. #55 Aquaria
    August 17, 2008

    Also, in regards to advertising campaigns for money (???????????), why would the gubmint need to do that? Get real. It will be all over the media if someone successfully gets IGWT removed from the money. The usual religious nutbars will know the exact day the money will switch over, and, I dunno, maybe they’ll have pray-ins or maybe even die-ins to mark the occasion.

    The gubmint won’t need to advertise it. The changeover will get all the free publicity it needs.

  56. #56 negentropyeater
    August 17, 2008

    ElectricBarbarella,

    please stop misusing the term “economic feasibility” when it evidently makes no sense. There’s no economic or financial analysis to be made here. Just a cost, minimal, for something which the government should do as this is what the 2nd amendment clearly indicates.

    Use the term when it’s appropriate, such as, “it’s not economically feasible to make cars by hand”.

    Ok ?

  57. #57 Tony Sidaway
    August 17, 2008

    Somebody’s pushing back. At 1041562 it’s now back to 49%. Has it been freeped?

  58. #58 ElectricBarbarella
    August 17, 2008

    In your opinion, I am using it incorrectly. If you had even a small idea of how much it costs to print out money, you would not be saying that it is “cheap” and “quick”.

    It is neither.

    And no, it is not economically feasible to make cars by hand. The time it takes to build one car by hand, can be accomplished by a machine, to build 100. Time=Money and the faster/better things are produced, the more money is made.

    Therefore, since the process is long and complicated, to make a single dollar bill, reworking all of the systems in place to redo said bill, costs more time and more money than our economy has to support it.

    toni

  59. #59 Zeke Silva
    August 17, 2008

    50% / 50%, Com’on…

  60. #60 Kseniya
    August 17, 2008

    And currently, reprinting billions of dollars worth of money just so it removes the motto, is not economically feasible, when there are better places the money spent to do this with, could go.

    Nice strawman.

  61. #61 Peter Vesuwalla
    August 17, 2008

    I think American atheists have bigger fish to fry than the U.S. mint. I’d be more concerned with amending the state constitutions that discriminate against atheists before battling over the money. Check out http://www.godlessgeeks.com/LINKS/StateConstitutions.htm.

    Personally, I like that you have “In God We Trust” on the money. There’s a certain sense of poetic irony that every single dollar the Enron executives stole from their shareholders, every dollar spent on drugs, every dollar spent on guns, every bribe, every hookers’ trick, and just about every nasty bit of corruption that goes on, all has something to do with this God character everybody seems to love so much. Hell, if the Christian Right had its way and abortion was banned, the back-ally market would be a cash-only business.

    I’d be less worried about the word “God” on the money than I would be about the trace amounts of cocaine on it.

  62. #62 Kseniya
    August 17, 2008

    I think American atheists have bigger fish to fry than the U.S. mint.

    One word: Multitasking.
    :-)

  63. #63 ElectricBarbarella
    August 17, 2008

    And currently, reprinting billions of dollars worth of money just so it removes the motto, is not economically feasible, when there are better places the money spent to do this with, could go.
    @ Kseniya
    Nice strawman.

    At this point in the argument, it would still apply. As Peter pointed out, Atheists have bigger fish to fry than the US Mint, which was just a minor point I was trying to make. I think amending the constitution to get rid of discrimination is a much easier task and I much more fortuitous one.

    Again, I agree with the sentiment that they are trying to accomplish–I am not against it. But I am logically trying to figure out whether it is even a battle that is worth fighting.

    toni

  64. #64 ElectricBarbarella
    August 17, 2008

    I am off to bed, but I just wanted to clarify that I brutally messed up the quote feature in the above post. Kseniya said “nice strawman” and nothing else. I don’t want it mistaken that I was trying to say she said the other stuff.

    Sorry Kseniya. I’m still learning the html for this board. :)

    toni

  65. #65 Paper Hand
    August 17, 2008

    Electric Barbarella:

    I would agree that it was economically unfeasible IF people were talking about removing every bit of currency and replacing it with new IGWT-less money. But that’s not what we’re talking about. Every year, new dies are created for coins, with the new year on it. It would be a matter of simplicity to say that, starting in 2009, new dies would lack IN GOD WE TRUST. Then the IGWT coins would be gradually phased out.

    Likewise, every time that the Secretary of the Treasury or the Treasurer of the United States changes, a new stamp is produced with their name. It would be very simple to simply drop the motto the next time it has to be changed for that reason.

  66. #66 Jim1138
    August 18, 2008

    1,211,523 total votes
    617,877 51% for
    593,646 49% against

    I think someone is cheating!

    I saw 49% to 51% around Thursday with about 450,000 votes (from memory). Peaked at 53% to 47% then back down to 49% to 51% now at 51% to 49%

  67. #67 Nibien
    August 18, 2008

    Wow, this ElectricBarbarella person is either really missing the point, or completely out there.

    Editing future bills is not going to cost any more money than it is to already create future bills, any costs to remake the molds without the motto would be rather insignificant and the problem would be solved in ten to twenty years automatically with no cost.

    I mean… how hard is that to grasp? Honestly.

  68. #68 rebelest
    August 18, 2008

    Since it is highly unlikely that “IGWT” will be removed from U.S. currency, I would like to strongly urge that everyone who agrees that the offending phrase is an unconstitutional violation of the separation of church and state, to correct every bill that you circulate.

    I suggest: 1)Mark through the “IGWT” with an indelible marker; 2)”X” out god and replace with reason/science/mathematics/technology etc.; 3)Best-get yourself a stamp made with this phrase “Federal Endorsement of a Deity or Religion Violates the U.S. Constitution” and use it to stamp over the offensive phrase.

    I have been doing this for more than twenty years. If enough people engage in this simple means of protest, maybe it will make a difference.

  69. #69 Valis
    August 18, 2008

    Luckily our currency doesn’t have any religious crap on it. Our coins have Nelson Mandela on them and our notes have the Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino). Although we have a secular state, there’s still a lot of superstition prevalent here. One of the bigger opposition parties is the African Christian Democratic Party.

  70. #70 DrFrank
    August 18, 2008

    To be completely accurate, UK coinage says D.G.Reg.F.D. on it, which is a short version of “Dei Gratia Regina Fidei Defensor”. So yes, it is technically a mention of God, but a highly abbreviated one in Latin that’s more or less incomprehensible. I can live with that ;)

    Our notes don’t even have that.

  71. #71 Tony Sidaway
    August 18, 2008

    1260497 and 52%

    Looking on the google blogs search I see that there are quite a few blogs suggesting that people vote in the poll.

    All good clean fun! :)

  72. #72 Tony Sidaway
    August 18, 2008

    Britain is certainly anomalous.

    The words on the coinage “Fidei Defensor” were first granted to Henry VIII by the Pope for his defense of the Papacy from an attack by Martin Luther.

    After the schism with Rome, Parliament granted the title to him. All monarchs since then seem to have had it (perhaps even Cromwell).

    The way I see England is that we’re a post-religious society. We’ve got religion all over the coinage, religious instruction in school (used to be one of the only two compulsory subjects, along with games, before the National Curriculum was introduced about 20 years ago), “broadly Christian” assemblies in school, bishops sitting in our upper house of Parliament ex officio, and the monarch is the head of an established church.

    But despite all that we’re complete heathens.

    Note that I said England, though. That’s where the great majority of the UK population lives.

    It’s a little different in parts of Wales, in Scotland and Northern Ireland, though. Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK where abortion is illegal.

  73. #73 Tatarize
    August 18, 2008

    Newdow argues that he is a strong atheist and possesses a positive religious belief that there is no God. His religion specifically says that God absolutely does not exist. His government says that his religious belief is wrong. There is a God and we trust this God. The government has no right to contradict his religious beliefs. Just as it would be unconstitutional to say that “There is no God” on money it is equally unacceptable to say that there is one.

    Newdow’s religion is also a part of his church called FACTS (First Atheist Church of True Science) which holds as a central tenet that it cannot be seen to endorse a religious statement and so very existence of “In God We Trust” on money prevents members of the church from spending money at all. This is a very severe harm suffered by Newdow at the hands of unconstitutional government action. He cannot spend money which endorses a contrary religious statement and all money does that. He can use credit cards for most things but the imposition on him is great.

    This gives him both a strong argument for unconstitutionality and standing in the court case against the government.

    The US Motto was E Pluribus Unum pretty much defacto for years. When the theotards get around to doing something they made “In God We Trust” the motto (after it had already been on money for a long time) in order to defend the previous action and to shove a bit more religion down people’s throats. When people objected that we already had a good motto, they claimed since Congress never did officially codified it in law that it didn’t count.

    Oh, and the opening phrase of the article is wrong. Newdow doesn’t want to ban the Pledge; he wants to restore it. He wants the 1954 law adding “Under God” declared unconstitutional. This wouldn’t kill the pledge but rather remove the phrase “under God”.

    Apparently according to Newdow, signing a law to add “Under God” to the Pledge seems a little bit like passing a law concerning an establishment of religion. He also takes historical arguments like that’s what all the people said they were doing and after passing it they ran the flag up the flag pole playing onward Christian Soldier. And when he got the first 9th circuit judgment crap hit the fan and it was all religious crap, so clearly the law entangled the US with religion.

  74. #74 Tony Sidaway
    August 18, 2008

    I don’t see why it should be economically unfeasible. The UK has phased out large sections of its coinage several times in the past forty years.

    The farthing was phased out around 1960, I think the old silver threepenny-bit was replaced with the twelve-sided copper one around the same time, and then that and the penny, halfpenny and half crown were phased out during decimalization in 1968-71.

    The old florin and shilling lived on alongside the rebadged version (5p and 10p) for about two decades, but the sixpence was phased out in the late 1970s. The new halfpenny (0.5p) was phased out in 1984.

    Around 20 years ago somebody at the Mint decided it would be a wizard wheeze if the coinage were to be downsized, so the 50p, 10p and 5p were replaced with identical coins of about half their original size. This took place between about 1990 and 1992, and meant of course that the old florins and shillings finally disappeared.

    So in about 25 years our entire coinage was changed completely. Not one item of legally acceptable coinage from 1967 was legal tender in 1992.

  75. #75 Tony Sidaway
    August 18, 2008

    And as if that weren’t enough, apparently this year they’re redesigning the reverse of every coin except the 2. The old designs will continue to be legal tender, however.

  76. #76 negentropyeater
    August 18, 2008

    I don’t see why it should be economically unfeasible.

    Because it’s clearly not economically unfeasible.
    It doesn’t even make sense to talk of “economic feasibility” in this case.

  77. #77 Emmet Caulfield
    August 18, 2008

    Ireland went through two complete changes of banknotes and coin in 10 years: once when the C series banknotes were introduced in 1993 (also introducing the 1 coin and other coin downsizing) and once for the Euro changeover in 2002.

    Pretty easily done.

    As far as removing IGWT goes, nobody suggested anything nearly as ambitious as the Euro changeover. By letting the deprecated notes and coin fall out of circulation in the normal cycle, the incremental cost of the change would be trivial.

  78. #78 Chiroptera
    August 18, 2008

    ElectricBarbarella, #58: Therefore, since the process is long and complicated, to make a single dollar bill, reworking all of the systems in place to redo said bill, costs more time and more money than our economy has to support it.

    No more than changing the signature of the Secretary of the Treasury every four years. Seriously. We make these kinds of changes to the currency all the time. Look at the bills in your wallet. Every one has the signature of both the Secretary of the Treasury and the Treasurer of the United States, and so must change whenever the positions go to new people — like every four years or so.

    Simply removing a single phrase is surely no more a difficult feat than changing the signatures.

  79. #79 Thuktun
    August 18, 2008

    It appears to be going down. Currently at 47% yes, 53% no.

  80. #80 Kseniya
    August 18, 2008

    Toni:

    I just wanted to clarify that I brutally messed up the quote feature in the above post.

    Oh, I’d still be doing it all the time if it weren’t for the trusty “Preview” button!

    The cost of changing the plates (which will be periodically changed anyway, as numerous commenters have already pointed out) isn’t an issue. However, the question of whether or not it’s a battle worth fighting is a legitimate one. The resistance against re-secularization of things like currency and the pledge of allegiance is disturbingly intense. Lots of people are unaware that these “god” phrases were added, that “In God We Trust” wasn’t adopted as the national motto until the mid-1950s; they think these things have been in place since the day the Declaration was signed. Not that it matter – they’ll resist “taking god out of” whatever, regardless of the constitutional implications, regardless of how the explicit inclusion of the J-C God disenfranchises non-christians, and perpetuates the myth of the Christian Nation. Given all that, I have to say that I believe the battles are worth fighting – on all fronts.

    E Pluribus Unum!

  81. #81 Will Von Wizzlepig
    August 18, 2008

    We are no appropriately crushing the opposition in this poll.

    apparently 1.5 million people have voted on it, and yes is currently at 44%…

    bummer.

  82. #82 ElectricBarbarella
    August 18, 2008

    Kseniya–

    If it is something we do every 4 years anyway (that seems like a waste too, huh..), then maybe it isn’t too bad. I do agree that it is a battle worth fighting for, but is the battle big enough to win? Meaning, the money issue just seems so trivial when compared to the other really truly bigger battles atheists have to fight.

    I used to volunteer at our local historical park, in the one room schoolhouse. One of the things I delighted in telling my pCm guests, was that the “under God” in the pledge was never in the pledge until the 30′s (roughly) and that people prior to it being put there, simply did not want it there because they felt they did not need to pledge to anyone but God, so they felt the pledge was blaspheming His name. Loved the looks I used to get. :)

    toni

  83. #83 Snitzels
    August 18, 2008

    1783226 responses

    the reason for this is a bunch of xtians sending around this hysterical terrified email, as follows:
    Subject: FW: NBC Poll – Please vote!

    Here’s your chance to let the media know where
    the people stand on our faith in God, as a
    nation. NBC is taking a poll on “In God We
    Trust” to stay on our American currency. Please send this to
    every Christian you know so they can vote on
    this important subject. Please do it right
    away, before NBC takes this off the web page.

    I had to laugh. I responded with “oh yes, I certainly voted”.

  84. #84 Nemo
    August 18, 2008

    I’d be more concerned with amending the state constitutions that discriminate against atheists before battling over the money. Check out http://www.godlessgeeks.com/LINKS/StateConstitutions.htm

    Those are dead letters, overruled through the combination of Article 6, Amendment 1 and Amendment 14 of the U.S. Constitution. Getting them repealed would be nice, but purely symbolic.

  85. #85 Kseniya
    August 18, 2008

    The “under God” wasn’t added to the Pledge until the 1950s, under Eisenhower. It was largely the doing of a Presbyterian minister from … cringe… from Boston. The adoption of “In God We Trust” as the official national motto also occurred under Eisenhower. I have little doubt that these moves were made as a reaction to the “godless communism” of the USSR and China. We compromised our secularism out of fear of communism, just as we’ve compromised our civil liberties here in the first decade of the new century out of fear of terrorism.

    Meaning, the money issue just seems so trivial when compared to the other really truly bigger battles atheists have to fight.

    I think it’s all of a piece. The currency is everywhere, every day, year after year, decade after decade – like the Pledge – inexorably training people to think of America as God’s Country, as A Christian Nation. Think of it as a grassroots thing. Try thinking of it this way: It’s not trivial, the effect is incremental, cumulative. Having God in the Pledge and on the currency erodes secularism, just as surely as wind and rain wear mountains down to sand.

  86. #86 Tony Sidaway
    August 18, 2008

    Oh is it on the paper money? That’s even easier to replace. Britain goes through regular changes of paper money, it’s nothing. See here for a neat little chart.

    A change in the US currency would also provide an opportunity to change from those drab green things all of the same size to something with a bit more variety. Remember why Ray Charles wanted to be paid in dollar bills in the film?

  87. #87 negentropyeater
    August 18, 2008

    BTW apart from this poll, this is the current status of Mr Newdow’s challenge of the IGWT on the money of the naton :

    A challenge to “In God We Trust” was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California on November 18, 2005. The Federal Defendants – along with a “non-profit organization dedicated to defending religious and civil liberties” – filed Motions to Dismiss, which were granted on June 12, 2006. An appeal was taken to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Briefing was completed in December, 2006, and oral argument occurred on December 4, 2007. Now there is nothing to do but wait for the three-judge panel (comprised of Hon. Dorothy W. Nelson, Hon. Stephen Reinhardt and Hon. Carlos T. Bea) to issue its opinion(s). That will occur whenever the judges feel they are ready.

    More details at :

    http://www.restorethepledge.com/

    Seems to me really important to support what this courageous guy is doing. Why not simply strike IGWT with a marker on every note that passes in your hands ?

  88. #88 Die Anyway
    August 18, 2008

    Just in the time it took me to read the 85 comments, the number of votes went from 1,866,272 to 1,934,454. Nearly 70,000 votes in something like 15 minutes. The split is 44% to remove IGWT and 56% to keep it. Considering that the actual Xian/non-Xian split is more like 80-20 we’re not doing too badly but I don’t think PZ has enough minions to swamp this one.

    I’m kind of sorry to see that Newdow is calling his atheism a “religion” seeing as how we’ve fought against that attribution for years but I understand the tactic. I hope he prevails.

    And as for marking bills, you can go to wheresgeorge.com and find a discussion on the legality of writing or stamping messages on U.S. currency.

    Eat well, stay fit, Die Anyway

  89. #89 Juergen
    August 18, 2008

    God is just another word for nobody.

  90. #90 ElectricBarbarella
    August 18, 2008

    Think of it as a grassroots thing. Try thinking of it this way: It’s not trivial, the effect is incremental, cumulative. Having God in the Pledge and on the currency erodes secularism, just as surely as wind and rain wear mountains down to sand.

    I agree with the sentiment contained on the whole, I just don’t feel that this is a battle worth fighting for–as of yet. I think we should be fighting to get Atheism recognized and (maybe not quite accepted but) at least affirmed, before we start trying to change things back to the way they were.

    I got that email too and it pissed me off. I can assure you that the spike in the poll came from my group(sadly, ugh) of homeschoolers. They do whatever our illustrious leader says for them to. Nonetheless, we need to work towards fixing that problem (of acceptance) first, before we go uprooting all that we have to rework and replace it.

    Toni

  91. #91 Zach
    August 18, 2008

    Now it is 40% yes and 60% no.

  92. #92 LisaJ
    August 18, 2008

    Snitzels @ #83. No way! I was wondering why it was going downhill in the opposite direction so quickly.

  93. #93 Janice Rael
    August 18, 2008

    Only one person mentioned this, in post #29. The poll was created to run with an article about Michael Newdow’s lawsuit, on Nov. 18, 2005.

    It’s been running for almost 3 years. It’s not being tallied by MSNBC, nor is it in the news, unless they report on this weekend’s sudden interest in revisiting the Newdow case.

    I’ve voted on it several times over the past 3 years, and my vote is worth the paper it’s printed on.

  94. #94 Kseniya
    August 19, 2008

    This isn’t an issue of atheism vs. theism, though – it’s an issue of keeping the government secular and of not condoning the government’s endorsement one particular theistic believe above all others. We’re not asking it to endorse atheism, either. Nor should we. IMO, the acceptance of atheism and of non-Christian beliefs proceeds from secularism, not the other way around. I believe that is what Jefferson et al had in mind, and is precisely what’s been under attack by the fundies and dominionists.

  95. #95 Sophie Hirschfeld
    September 5, 2008

    It may be useful to remention this poll, since the “no” vote has gone up to 81% now and the poll is obviously in need of more adjustment.

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