SAN FRANCISCO – In pursuit of his goal to kick God out of government, atheist Michael Newdow has filed a lawsuit in federal court in an effort to remove the words "In God We Trust" from all U.S. coins and bills.
Newdow, who is a physician and a lawyer, has spent years trying to ban the words "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools, arguing that the government shouldn't proclaim the existence of God.
Now, he's using the same reasoning to argue that "In God We Trust" violates the rights of atheists.
Click in the video box to the right for a complete report by FOX News' Claudia Cowan.
"I'm a minister of the First Amendmist Church of True Science and I can't raise funds or anything else because all the coins say that we believe in God, and that's completely against our principals," Newdow said.
"It's incredible, that what we gave to the world is this idea of religious freedom ... 'we the United States,' that was our invention, and of all the things we could have come up with is a national motto ... that's religious. It's insane."
Newdow has a tough sell. The Federal Reserve bank of San Francisco features one of the largest displays of U.S. currency, and the words "In God We Trust" are as much a part of American history as the bills themselves.
"In God We Trust" is America's official motto, first appearing on a two-cent coin in 1864. In 1955, Congress mandated that the phrase appear on all paper money.
Along with currency, the words are printed on a number of government buildings.
People on the streets of San Francisco had mixed reaction to Newdow's latest suit.
"I like leaving it in," one resident said about "In God We Trust." "It's been a tradition for so long."
One Newdow opponent said: "I don't agree with him and I don't agree that it's something that should be settled in the courts, for one. It sounds like more of a publicity stunt."
But another person interviewed said: "Ultimately we should go in that direction [of taking "God" out], but I'm not sure America is ready for it yet."
William J. Murray, chairman of the conservative Religious Freedom Coalition, said he doesn't expect Newdow's case to go far.
"The courts will go back to the fact that ceremonial deism is an entrenched part of government and has been since the date this nation was founded in 1789," Murray said.
"This is sort of a seasonal thing with him, you know, kind of a tradition that he files a Christmas and an Easter lawsuit, sort of … wants to be the social grinch," he continued. "The United States is a democracy and we have freedom of speech, and if you have freedom of speech, you're going to offend people. …You can't have the right not to be offended and free speech, those two don't go together."
Legal experts predict Newdow's lawsuit will fail because the courts tend to view certain expressions like "In God We Trust" as casual religious references that have been around so long they've lost their religious power. Even the secular lobby Americans United for Separation of Church and State is calling the lawsuit frivolous.
Newdow is about to start a fundraising campaign to help pay his legal bills. That money will be in the very form of the bills he is protesting.