In God we trust

Fifty-five years ago, the House Judiciary Committee considered a bill that would affirm one of the cornerstones upon which our nation was built. Although opposed by a small minority of the American public at the time, the bill received overwhelming support by Americans and members of Congress. The bill passed unanimously out of the Judiciary Committee, unanimously in the House of Representatives, and unanimously in the Senate before it went on to be signed into law by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

The legislation was H.J.Res.396 and it declared the official motto of the United States to be “In God We Trust.”

Though the motto was officially named that year in 1956, its origin and importance can be traced back long before that point. From the very inception of our nation, our Founding Fathers declared the United States to be a nation that trusted in God. In 1814 when Francis Scott Key was writing what would become our national anthem, he included the phrase “in God is our trust.” In 1864, Congress passed legislation that directed the Mint to develop designs for one- and two-cent coins, and “In God We Trust” first appeared on the 1864 two-cent coin. In 1955, Congress mandated that “In God We Trust” be placed on all of our currency.

The belief was that “In God We Trust” has been a bedrock upon which our nation was built, and it is only appropriate that we would designate the phrase as our national motto and proudly display it on our currency and in our public buildings, schools, and other government institutions.

This week, the House Judiciary Committee once again considered a bill acknowledging “In God We Trust.” The resolution that I introduced, H.Con.Re.13, reaffirms our national motto and supports and encourages the public display of the national motto in all public buildings, public schools, and other government institutions.

For many individuals, the reason for H.Con.Res.13 is clear. However, there are a few that may ask “why affirm our national motto if it is already the law of the land? Why affirm if it was already passed into law in 1956?”

Over the past several years, we have seen efforts to change our national motto in a de facto manner. Federal agencies and departments have been instructed that the phrase not be posted in those buildings. The effect on our public schools has been chilling, as teachers and administrators do not know whether they can post our national motto on their walls. Officials at Congress’ very own Capitol Visitor Center put in stone that our national motto was “e Pluribus unum,” until I led the House of Representatives in 2008 to stand up and say we cannot let the inaccuracy stand. We watched as the President of the United States traveled to the University of Indonesia in Jakarta and inaccurately shared that our national motto is “e Pluribus unum.” These omissions and inaccuracies are a part of a larger pattern we are seeing that inaccurately reflect America and undercut important parts of our nation’s history.

Still others may ask “why deal with ‘In God We Trust’ when we have so many other worries facing our nation?” However, proceedings from the 1956 Judiciary Committee debate pointed out that “In God We Trust” is an inspirational phrase. In fact, looking back at the very moments when Congress made major actions on the phrase, we realize that it was during some of our most tumultuous times we have faced as a nation – the War of 1812, the Civil War. In fact, the president who signed the motto into law was the very allied commander who led one of the greatest wars in which the United States has ever fought, World War II. They knew, as we know today, that Americans need inspiration in difficult times.

If ever there was a time that we should reaffirm our national motto it is now. I am happy to share that, yesterday, the House Judiciary Committee voted in favor of the “In God We Trust Resolution.” The bill will now be sent to the full House of Representatives for consideration.

There may come a day when a generation of Americans is willing to turn its back on that motto and say either that America does not have the right to trust in God or that it should not trust in God. Fortunately, today is not that day, and this is not that generation.

I encourage you to watch the debate that took place in the Judiciary Committee this week in the videos. If you would like to view the video or my remarks go online to www.forbes.house.gov

Comments

Which God?

In which God to we trust?

Randy Forbes' misguided legislation

Republicans in general and radical right-wing conservatives in particular rail against mid-eastern countries with doctrinaire theocratic regimes while at the same time attempting to impose their own brand of doctrinaire theocracy in this country. What blatant hypocrisy.

I would encourage Mr. Forbes to devote less time on misguided religious symbolism like his H.Con.Re.13 and instead focus his efforts on attempting to solve the numerous and far more substantive issues that face this country.

In God we trust; all others pay cash

On one hand, I am pleased that three other readers have beaten me to the punch in expressing unhappiness at the religious zealotry behind the "In God We Trust" proponents.

On the other hand, it speaks volume that those three writers felt so intimidated by that same religious zealotry that they felt the need to write anonymously.

Ardent religionists have perpetrated as much evil throughout history as any other class of miscreant. From the Crusades to the Inquisition to the Protestant-Catholic strife in Northern Ireland to Al-Qaeda, religious extremism has wreaked havoc throughout history. We in the United States are certainly not exempt: the Ku Klux Klan, the Aryan Nation, and misguided individuals like Timothy McVeigh all claimed to be "doing God's work."

I suspect that proponents of "In God We Trust" would recoil in horror at the motto "In Allah We Trust" or "In Yahweh We Trust." I fail to see why one should be any more (or less) acceptable than the other. Why do we have so few elected officials that are Muslims or, heaven forbid (pun intended), agnostics or even worse, out-and-out atheists? Because all fail the unspoken religious litmus test that still prevails in this country.

We like to think that we have progressed so far over the years, but in this area, we are still in the dark ages. I join the President in casting my vote in favor of "E Pluribus Unum."

Connections

Do you really want money to be associated with God anyway? I think they're (meant to be) about as unrelated as you can get.

I thought only death and taxes were certain

There's a fair number of people who don't trust in any God. I think the government should represent them too.

God and Church are separate

I personally do not believe in gods, nor do millions of other American citizens. We shouldn't have the religious force their views on national buildings and on the currency that we and many other countries use. People are right in arguing against this action.

If Congress would consider "In Allah We Trust" or "In no God We Trust" or "In FSM We Trust," I would reconsider whether or not Congress's true intention is to force their religion on us.

Enough is enough! Our country was not founded with the intention of putting religion everywhere. You congressmen and women can advertise your beliefs through your churches. Just keep them off our money.

"From the very inception of

"From the very inception of our nation, our Founding Fathers declared the United States to be a nation that trusted in God."

[citation needed]

The national motto our founding fathers wanted was "E Pluribus Unum," as approved by Congress in 1782. Most of the founding fathers were Deist. They specifically declared that the United States was NOT to be a nation that trusted in God. It was to be a nation that trusted in Men.

WRONG

In God we Trust is NOT our motto. It's void ab initio as ultravires. Congress does not have the power to establish a religious motto. E PLURIBUS UNUM is a great motto; it is our motto and it evokes our great tradition of ONE NATION- UNITED WE STAND.

Please quit trying to impose YOUR religious beliefs onto our great country. Your "god" was forced upon us back in the McCarthy scare and it has invaded our Pledge, our Currency, and our "Motto" in a PR campaign to distinguish us from the communists. It has NO place in an America with a first amendment. You divide us with this sentiment rather than unite.

That said, you have EVERY right to practice your religion and I will defend you and your right to practice it to the death. It's not a god given right - it's a Constitutional right - given by the first Americans and defended by every succeeding generation of us. Put your trust in who you like; but don't mandate my trust and don't waste my tax payer dollars on such pointless sectarian pursuits.

Maybe if you are going to be an elected representative, you should read the first amendment to our Constitution jackass.
You and I have sworn an oath to defend this Constitution and you are clearly abrogating your duty to all of us in favor of your preferred religious sect.

One step closer to the

One step closer to the Taliban.

They believe in God too.

They believe in God too.

Terrible, one sided article.

Terrible, one sided article. Not objective at all. There are upwards of 40 million non-religious people in the USA. They don't 'trust in god' they trust in themselves and humanity.

While the rest of the world is catching up with us financially, furthering their already distant lead on education, and creating a practical health-care system for their people--our leaders are reaffirming the delusional position of religion, and making a mockery of our country.

We are a secular nation, this motto violates the 1st amendment of the United States. American's may trust in God all they want, but our government should not be endorsing religion over non-religion. The US is doomed if people don't start wising up.

Our country was founded by

Our country was founded by people who saw the need for change, and represented not only the popular view but also the views of thise minorities trampled underfoot. Today, we need more changes. One of those changes should be the recognition that as a people, we should not be held to the religious beliefs of our forefathers.

This motto does not represent the American people, and my tax dollars being used to pay for its placement on our buildings is un-American, REGARDLESS of its history. The money spent would be better used for education, or really anything that the ENTIRE country can benefit from.

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