(CNSNews.com) - "In God We Trust" is the national motto, but you may need a magnifying glass to find it inscribed on the edge of those new one-dollar coins.
The Thomas More Law Center, a national public interest law firm, is urging Americans to avoid using the coins altogether.
"It is astounding that Congress has effectively done what atheist litigants have been unsuccessfully trying to do for years -- erase all reference to God from our money," said Richard Thompson, president and chief counsel of the Law Center.
"This is just another step on the road to a secular society where all religious symbols are removed from public view."
The Law Center wants Congress to repeal the law under which the new coins are being minted.
The Presidential $1 Coin Act, enacted in 2005, requires the government to issue $1 circulating coins featuring the images of presidents. That law requires the United States Mint to place "In God We Trust" and "E Pluribus Unum" on the edge, rather than the face, of the coins.
But placed on the coin's edge, "In God We Trust" appears to be nothing more than scratches, the Thomas More Law Center said.
Also missing from the new coin is the word "Liberty," which appears on all other U.S. coins.
According to the U.S. Treasury, the motto "In God We Trust" was placed on U.S. coins because of increased religious sentiment during the Civil War. Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase received "many appeals from devout persons throughout the country," urging that the United States recognize God on its coins.
"In God We Trust" first appeared on the two-cent coin in 1864, and since 1938, all United States coins have borne the inscription on their faces.
The phrase "In God We Trust" was declared the national motto by an Act of Congress in 1956 and first appeared on paper currency in 1957.
In a related story, the U.S. Mint announced on Wednesday that an unknown number of the new $1 coins are missing the words "In God We Trust" altogether -- a mistake, the Mint said.
"The United States Mint understands the importance of the inscriptions 'In God We Trust' and 'E Pluribus Unum' as well as the mint mark and year on U.S. coinage. We take this matter seriously," the Mint said in a statement.
The first batch of $1 coins released last month feature the image of George Washington. Coins with images of Adams, Jefferson, and Madison also will be issued in 2007. Four presidents will be featured on the coins every year thereafter.
The Thomas More Law Center describes itself as an organization that defends and promotes the religious freedom of Christians, family values, and the sanctity of human life through education, litigation, and related activities.
'In God We Trust:' Our Money's Message for 141 Years (Nov. 16, 2005)
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