In God we trust

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"In God we trust" first appeared on our money in 1864 on the two cent piece. But it took a while until we put it on all the bills. Still, it was used more and more over time until it was accepted as the national motto of the United States in 1956 (in response to Communism and the left's attacks on religion). Meme's like the one about this being new in 1956 are typical leftist dogma: it misleads the people that listen to them and think they have the whole story.


I found this interesting: as usual, a meme uses a half truth (at best). Never trust a meme, especially one from a political organization... this goes doubly true for leftist ones.


1864 - The treasury has a reasonable document that explains we first used the motto on coins in 1864 (on the two cent piece), and used it ever since.[1] (Though some years did not have it).
  • Secretary Chase instructed James Pollock, Director of the Mint at Philadelphia, to prepare a motto, in a letter dated November 20, 1861: Dear Sir: No nation can be strong except in the strength of God, or safe except in His defense. The trust of our people in God should be declared on our national coins. You will cause a device to be prepared without unnecessary delay with a motto expressing in the fewest and tersest words possible this national recognition.
  • In a letter to the Mint Director on December 9, 1863, Secretary Chase stated: I approve your mottoes, only suggesting that on that with the Washington obverse the motto should begin with the word OUR, so as to read OUR GOD AND OUR COUNTRY. And on that with the shield, it should be changed so as to read: IN GOD WE TRUST.
  • But the tradition goes back to the phrase as used in the Star Spangled Banner and some civil war regiments used it as their motto

1956 - Finally, in 1956, a Democrat Majority in the House (84th Congress) and Senate, sent a bill to Ike to sign (which he did on July 30, 1956), making the long historic motto our "national motto" and to be included on printed bills as well as just coins, the pledge of allegiance, our national anthem, and on many other government printed material. (They didn't record the vote totals that I could find).
  • It was first used on paper money when it appeared on the one-dollar silver certificate and entered circulation on October 1, 1957.
  • They mostly did this because it was the middle of the cold war, and USSR/Communism promoted state-forced atheism and was anti-religion and religious liberty, and this was a statement against that -- that we were founded on religious traditions and religious liberty. And the motto aligns well with Christian, Jewish and even Islamic verses.

Leftist Tolerance - Once the marxist sponsored progressive hippie movement gained political steam, they started attacking all of our traditional values, and God and Country were among the top two targets:
  • The motto was first challenged in Aronow v. United States in 1970, but the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled: "It is quite obvious that the national motto and the slogan on coinage and currency 'In God We Trust' has nothing whatsoever to do with the establishment of religion. Its use is of patriotic or ceremonial character and bears no true resemblance to a governmental sponsorship of a religious exercise."
  • And in Zorach v. Clauson (1952), the Supreme Court also held that the nation's "institutions presuppose a Supreme Being" and that government recognition of God does not constitute the establishment of a state church as the Constitution's authors intended to prohibit.

Conclusion

So the tradition goes back at least a century and a half, not just a new invention in 1956. More than that, while a single phrase wasn't used before that, many phrases like that, would likely predate it (such recognition of a divine being by the government is not unusual, even if the phrasing was not yet standardized).

Thus people can support or oppose the motto -- just do so based on the facts: and the facts are the slogan goes back much further than some would like to mislead you into believing.

I personally am an atheist/agnostic, but I've never taken the slightest offense to such a motto, nor in saying the pledge of allegiance, or praying, and so on. To me it's a case of picking your battles, and if such things give anyone one extra moment of peace or happiness or a smile while on this mortal coil, then I support it and it is of no cost/sacrifice to me to do so.

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📚 References