FFRF objects to religious quotations on US passports

Passport quotes


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.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational charity, is the nation's largest association of freethinkers (atheists, agnostics), and has been working since 1978 to keep religion and government separate.

FFRF is a non-profit, educational organization. All dues and donations are deductible for income-tax purposes.

FFRF has received a 4 star rating from Charity Navigator

FFRF is a member of the Secular Coalition for America

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