Personally, I’d like to see any and all references to God removed from our money, our pledge, and all government buildings. It’s never going to happen, at least in my lifetime, and as an atheist, I think our time is better spent on the real governmental abuses of the Establishment Clause than these perceived infractions.
There’s been a recent decision by the 8th Circuit in a case filed by several individual atheists and 2 atheist organizations that failed in the attempt to have In God We Trust removed from our currency. The decision is embedded in the article linked and it actually appears to be a sensible one.
It seems that every few years I read or hear about a case similar to this: an atheist group or some atheists want any reference to God removed from something or somewhere. They inevitably fail because they haven’y met the burden of showing a violation of the 1st Amendment.
The 1st Amendment, specifically the Establishment Clause, doesn’t prevent the use of the word God anywhere, even in government, but it’s specific to government proclaiming a sectarian preference in religion.
I don’t think that when any of these were introduced that there was any other meaning other than the Abrahamic god. More to the point, since we are a nation that the majority identifies as Christian, that it was meant for that purpose alone. No one seriously believes that in using the word God on our money and buildings has any other meaning. No one looks at that and thinks of Zeus or Odin.
Atheists challenging these in court are going to need to come up with a better argument. What that may be, I actually have no idea: I’m not a Constitutional scholar, but there are many that are and if there is a way to remove these references from our secular government, none have been able to discover it.
If it looks to some I’m saying that we atheists should give up, well, yes I am saying that, in cases like this one. We should be concentrating on those cases where a government entity tries to skirt the 1st Amendment and established law with promoting a particular belief. Every time we challenge those, we win.
Maybe there will come a day when there is a Constitutional argument for removing God from our secular life. Until then, let’s not waste time on cases like this one just for publicity or fundraising.