“In God We Trust”

That inclusive “we” doesn’t include me.

I’ve always been bugged by that nonsensical sentence invoking mythology as a superpower in courtrooms, inscribed as it is high on the wall above the judge’s bench in every courtroom I’ve ever been in. It has no place in any civic building in the United States. It contradicts specific clauses in the Constitution and the Amendments, and offends my own ethics.

I’m not sure when New York City courts changed the language in the swearing-in of witnesses, but it’s been quite a while since anyone had to swear to “tell the truth, the whole truth, so help me god,” and put one’s hand on a bible.

So I’m glad that Christopher Dunn, a longtime New York civil rights lawyer now with the New York Civil Liberties Union, is taking on what seems to be an obvious civil rights cause: get rid of “In god we trust.” I trust the courts to administer justice. Nobody’s belief in myth should come into this.

 Civil Rights and Civil Liberties

The Pope, Invoking God and New York Courtrooms

Christopher Dunn, New York Law Journal  

In his Civil Rights and Civil Liberties column, Christopher Dunn writes: Last week’s government-papal engagement refocused attention on a long-standing concern of mine about an invocation of God found throughout New York’s judicial system. Every time I appear in a courtroom with the words “In God We Trust” on the walls behind judges’ benches, I am troubled by the suggestion of divine oversight of the judiciary.

UPDATE 10/9/2015. It’s not actually an update as much as a metastases:

Many Southern and Midwestern law enforcement agencies have added the axiom to squad cars, angering often-distant critics who say the moves violate the separation of church and state.

Source: Police Agencies Defy Critics and Show ‘In God We Trust’ – The New York Times

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