“In God We Trust” has been on our money in America for a long time.
However, that history means nothing to modern atheists who hate any mention of God in public.
They determined it best to update the currency to “modern times” and sued to do so.
The Supreme Court (thankfully) disagreed.
The motto IN GOD WE TRUST dates back to a national letter writing campaign that occurred right around the time of the civil war.
The whole nation had been suffering with the effects and aftermaths of the Civil War. It turned every citizen to ask the big questions. And a lot of them found the answer consistently to be God, and only God.
Christians across the nation wrote to the Secretary of the Treasury, Salmon P. Chase, asking that the phrase be added to the nation’s currency.
The very first letter he received was dated November 13, 1861 and read:
“One fact touching our currency has hitherto been seriously overlooked. I mean the recognition of the Almighty God in some form on our coins.”
“You are probably a Christian. What if our Republic were not shattered beyond reconstruction? Would not the antiquaries of succeeding centuries rightly reason from our past that we were a heathen nation?”
“This would relieve us from the ignominy of heathenism. This would place us openly under the Divine protection we have personally claimed. From my hearth I have felt our national shame in disowning.”
And the government’s response?
The Secretary of the Treasury responded both in word and action: “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.”
Wow. What a time to experience America… One nation under God.
Fast forward to today. The atheists have arrived. And they would like to make their presence a force that the country is recognizable by.
Exactly contrast to the entire reason for having the money motto in the first place.
One of the loudest voices in the argument was lawyer Michael Newdow, who also happens to be the one behind attempts to block “The Pledge of Allegiance” in American classrooms, and removing “So Help Me God” from presidential inaugurations.
His argument for the un-American-ness of allowing this motto to remain?
“By mandating the inscription of facially religious text (i.e. “In God We Trust”) on every coin and currency bill, defendants have turned petitioners — among whom are nine children — into ‘political outsiders’ on the basis of their most fundamental religious tenet.”
Of course, any good lawyer knows his facts. So before the history was raised as a standard for keeping the motto, he boldly claimed that enlightenment for his own argument sake.
Newdow quoted the Mint Director from a statement made the previous year: “We claim to be a Christian nation. Why should we not vindicate our character by honoring the God of Nations, in the exercise of our political Sovereignty as a Nation? Our national coinage should do this. Its legends and devices should declare our trust in God.”
He equated his fellow atheists’ personal use of dollars stating God’s Name to supporting the statement of belief, “a religious profession they do not agree with or wish to promote.”
Nonetheless, Newdow’s appeal was denied.
The Supreme Court thus sent the argument to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals which had already ruled, “[T]he Establishment Clause [of the First Amendment] must be interpreted by reference to historical practices and understandings.”
“The Supreme Court has long recognized the ‘unbroken history of official acknowledgment by all three branches of government of the role of religion in American life from at least 1789.”
And since there is no force to acknowledge, participate, or even accept the sentiment behind In God We Trust, the case was no longer validated.
Eric Rassbach is an attorney with the religious liberty group, and was very pleased with how this all turned out. He got involved by submitting a brief on the case when it arrived. After hearing the response from the Court of Appeals, he tweeted:
“1. This morning #SCOTUS dealt militant #atheist activist Michael Newdow another setback in his campaign to remove ‘In God We Trust’ from US coins.”
“2. Dr. Newdow wants to remove the National Motto from coins because he believes the phrase creates a ‘religious establishment’ — an official state church, like the one in England.”
“After losing in the lower courts, Dr. Newdow had appealed to #SCOTUS. This morning the Supreme Court denied the appeal without comment. The result is the right one, but the multi-year process is a grand waste of time and money.”
There are a few history details that make it all just that more fascinating.
The motto wasn’t on paper money until 1955-1957, under the lead of President Dwight D. Eisenhower after he heard a sermon by a preacher.
That sermon was delivered by Rev. George Docharty. He was speaking in the actual church that Abraham Lincoln attended, a Presbyterian Church in D.C.
He spoke of the Gettysburg Address that Lincoln delivered. In the Address, he used the phrase “Under God.”
“Now, Lincoln was not being original in that phrase. He was simply reminding the people of the basis upon which the Nation won its freedom in its Declaration of Independence.”
The Declaration that was made to found our nation uses references to God at least four times. Docharty spoke on this, and made simple but profound statements about the God-formed framework of the nation.
It was only months before the motto passed through Congress and back to his desk, where he signed it readily.
In fact, Eisenhower was excited. One of his main motives was that even the schoolchildren would begin to learn the true meaning of our nation, as they learned to count their money.
He wanted them to understand “the transcendence of religious faith in America’s heritage and future … strengthen[ing] those spiritual weapons which will forever be our country’s most powerful resource, in peace or in war.”
Do you understand “those spiritual weapons”?
Do you know what power you possess in the Name above all Names?
While we are protected even still by “certain, unalienable rights” in our nation’s established foundation, let us take every advantage.
Let us learn what we have and begin using it to the fullest potential for God’s Nation.
Even praying for our earthly nation, that once again it may even be One Nation Under God, and all peoples can see us and say: surely it is “In God We Trust.”