Atheist in battle to remove 'In God We Trust' from US currency

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An atheist has claimed in court that the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance and "In God We Trust" on US currency should be removed on the grounds they breach his constitutional rights as a non believer.

The San Francisco-based 9th U S Circuit Court of Appeals panel rejected two legal challenges by Michael Newdow, a doctor, who said the references to God are unconstitutional and infringe on his religious beliefs.

The same appeals court caused a national uproar and prompted accusations of judicial activism when it decided in Mr Newdow's favour in 2002, ruling that the pledge violated the First Amendment prohibition against government endorsement of religion.

President George W Bush called the 2002 decision "ridiculous," senators passed a resolution condemning the ruling and Newdow received death threats.

That lawsuit reached the US Supreme Court in 2004, but the high court said Dr Newdow lacked the legal standing to file the suit because he didn't have custody of his daughter, on whose behalf he brought the case.

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