In God We Trust
by David R. Kenney
One may recall the treasury stamping “In God We Trust” on the edge, rather than the face, of the president’s series of dollar coins. I recall thinking, “They are slowly pushing God right off the coin by moving it to the edge.”
Ironically, a story surfaced that the U. S. Treasury had mistakenly minted coins that failed to have this slogan. After so much effort by secularists to distort history by claiming the founding fathers desired to create a religious neutral government, I was irritated that it appeared yet another inch was being surrendered. It is a fact that the founding fathers desired to create a government that did not interfere in church government, but they in no way sought to remove Christianity from the government.
One wonders how the press would react if they were treated the same way the secularists desire to have Christianity treated? The same amendment that gives the press its freedom gives religion its free exercise! It seems many have forgotten that the Bill of Rights was passed to avoid government overstepping its bounds. For those who have not read the Bill of Rights in a while, the first amendment reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
The source of the phrase “In God We Trust” is believed to be from the fourth stanza of the poem upon which our national anthem “The Star-Spangled Banner” was based. “In God We Trust” was adopted as our national motto in 1956, although it first appeared on the currency by act of Congress in 1864 on a two-cent coin. The mint has not always utilized this motto on coins. In 1907 the slogan was removed from the gold double eagle coin.
Interestingly, Theodore Roosevelt opposed having “In God We Trust” on U.S. currency, but the reason does not fit the secularists’ viewpoint. The secularists believe having God in government harms the government; however, Roosevelt felt that using God’s name on the currency was irreverent toward God, not the nation.
In a letter to William Boldly on Nov. 11, 1907, Roosevelt wrote: “My own feeling in the matter is due to my very firm conviction that to put such a motto on coins, or to use it in any kindred manner, not only does no good but does positive harm, and is in effect irreverence, which comes dangerously close to sacrilege ... it seems to me eminently unwise to cheapen such a motto by use on coins, just as it would be to cheapen it by use on postage stamps, or in advertisements.”
The public outcry was so great that Congress, on May 18, 1908, passed legislation to have the motto restored. Apparently the outcry was effective since all U. S. coins have included our national motto since 1938. The slogan did not appear on paper money until 1957.
Did you notice the driving force that restored our national motto to our currency? The public outcry! Sometimes things are discouraging, but that is the time to be heard. We are blessed to live in a country where we can tell our elected officials exactly what is on our minds – both at the ballot box and during their term.
Maybe you think, “It is hopeless. We live in a far more dark time than in days of old.” Wake up! With the Internet, you can go to www.senate.gov, www.house.gov, and www.whitehouse.gov and type a message directly to our elected officials in Washington, D.C. for free. Perhaps you do not like getting involved in political matters. Well, be aware that if we do not speak out for the moral fabric of our country, the secularists will, but it won’t be the morals of the Bible.
Can we make a difference? Yes. In fact, on Dec. 5, 2007, the House introduced S. 2417 to return the national motto to the face of the coin. Result? “In God We Trust” was returned to the face of the dollar coins beginning with the 2009 coin honoring William Henry Harrison as the ninth president. Why? Because God-fearing citizens took a stand. God has blessed us with living in a free nation. May we do all that we can to honor Him in both in word and deed.
David R. Kenney preaches and teaches for the Wadsworth church of Christ at 236 West Good Avenue, Wadsworth, Ohio 44281.
This article originally appeared in the Wadsworth Post, October 20, 2012