The Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter to the U.S. State Department on July 25 to object to religious quotations printed on official United States passports. FFRF has been protesting religion in passports since 2007.
FFRF, a state/church watchdog based in Madison, Wis., is a national nonprofit with more than 19,000 members across the country.
Multiple quotes on the United States passport include religious references:
- "May God continue the unity of our country as the railroad unites the two great ocean of the world." Inscribed on the Golden Spike
- "That this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom." Gettysburg Address by Abraham Lincoln
- "The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time." Jefferson Memorial, Thomas Jefferson
- "We have a great dream. It started way back in 1776, and God grant that America will be true to her dream." Martin Luther King, Jr.
FFRF Staff Attorney Rebecca Markert has requested a copy of documents showing when State Department officials decided to add the religious quotes and documents pursuant to adding the religious quotes.
Markert wrote: "The FFRF has First Amendment Establishment Clause concerns that are triggered by these overtly religious references on government-issued documents. It is a fundamental constitutional principle that the 'First Amendment mandates governmental neutrality between religion and religion, and between religion and non-religion.'"
"We've received so many complaints since the unnecessary intrusion of godly quotes in passports under the Bush Administration," noted FFRF co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor. "The United States is governed under a secular and godless constitution, and our passports should be secular, too."
FFRF hopes to receive this documents in a timely manner.