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Free Money Movement
The Free Money Movement is a campaign to encourage people living in the United States to cross out the word 'god' on their currency, as a protest against the invocation and promotion of supernatural beliefs on public money, and as a reminder for the need for the secular society that was originally intended by the founding fathers.
The Free Money Movement (FMM) officially started on August 3rd, 2009 on reddit.com. The original post was a picture of $525 USD with the word "GOD" crossed out of the motto "IN GOD WE TRUST" in sharpie submitted by the user Krizutch (which was in response to an earlier post by the user jeremyflavored who highlighted a bill he had found in circulation with the phrase blanked out). The movement was thus conceived as a form of protest to be used to raise awareness about atheists and to spark a discussion about whether or not the motto is constitutional. What is most poignant about this campaign is that it uses the very article of our offence as a means to carry our message forward directly into the hands of the general public who we wish to reach with our message.
The video has a growing fan base seen on Youtube made by user Freemoneymovement.
Though people have been doing this in protest individually for some time this is possibly the first concerted effort.
The most influential post in the original thread was made by the user col381 and is quoted below.
Free Money Movement Manifesto
- A Non-violent, non-offensive, form of social political protest.
- The aim is to raise the consciousness of people that this is against everything that the founders wanted America to become.
- The aim is to get people talking, stuff like this is very controversial, this is what we want. Controversy starts discussion of the issue, discussion forces people to think about it and form an opinion about it, and eventually opinions form policy.
- To raise awareness of the need for secularism
- To increase awareness of intolerance against atheists - when 'innocent' people start getting abused because they are using marked money, this will increase their awareness about how atheists are treated/perceived by society.
- Start spending more cash! I don't mean go out and blow your budgets, but start using your credit cards less and cash more.
- Be sure to hand over bills with the marked side down; it's always better to avoid problems than to deal with them.
- Keep a few unmarked (larger denomination) bills handy in case you have problems at the till, if someone does raise it say something like "man, I keep seeing that everywhere" and then feign innocence.
- Don't waste your marked bills by using them at the bank as they will only separate them out for disposal. Spend them at places where cash is king; bars, supermarkets, small shops, etc.
- Smaller bills such as $20, $10, $5 & $1's are much more likely to be handed back to people as change. Larger bills will mostly always find their way back to the banks where there is a chance the note will be taken out of circulation.
- Please don't feel tempted to write anything offensive on the bills, a simple mark through the G-word is enough. This is a form of passive political protest, our aim is to educate and raise awareness of the importance of secularism - not to be offensive.
- For those of you out there that write blogs, please write something about this.
- For those of you that do youtube videos, please do the same.
- Start threads on other atheist websites about this to get the message out to other atheists
- If you are a member of an atheist group, raise consciousness about this there.
- We need a web site as a central focus for this and we need volunteers to help set up the site and put together the message.
- Once we have a website, multiple press releases are needed to alert the media.
Guerrilla Tactics :
- Write letters to your local newspaper 'complaining' about the number of bills you keep seeing with god crossed off - pretend to be outraged, and send them photos of a marked bill as part of your letter ; newspapers just love that kind of thing. This not only spreads the word, it increases awareness of the campaign and starts discussion about the secularisation of money (which is the PRIMARY aim after all). Do not use your real name for this. Massive kudos awaits anyone that manages to get something printed about this and then posts it back here. If anything does get printed, we of course need to be sure to respond in support of this.
- Place comments on Christian websites about this and get them aware of the campaign (again, pretend to be 'outraged' by this when you do it). For this campaign to spread we need controversy and our super tolerant friends the Christians can (and will happily) do all the hard work we need for this (Poe's law works both ways, let's use this to our advantage).
Legality of Marking Bills
The US law that pertains to the marking of currency is stated as follows :
United States currency and coinage are governed by federal law through the U.S. Treasury Department. Generally, it is illegal to fraudulently deface, mutilate, impair, diminish, falsify, scales or lightens any coins minted or "coined" in the United States or any foreign coins which are by law made current or are in use or circulation as money within the U.S. (18 U.S.C. 331)
It is also a crime to fraudulently possess, pass, publish, sell or attempt to possess, pass, publish, sell or bring into the U.S. any such coin with knowledge that the coin has been altered, mutilated, defaced, etc. (18 U.S.C. 331)
The key word here in relation to the matter of defacing currency is FRAUDULENT. Provided that the marks do not attempt to alter the value of or render the bills useless as currency (marks to key features such as serial numbers would constitute this) making markings on currency is legal.
The FMM urges anybody engaging in this practice NOT to write words or otherwise damage bills, except to simply cross out the word 'god' in the phrase "In God We Trust" where it appears.
- Original Pic
- Original Post
- Manifesto comment
- Freethought Subreddit
- Godless Money
- The Next Level
- Youtube Video
- Spending Godless Money
- The Good Atheist article
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