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Attacking the Almighty Dollar

Michael T. Hertz: In God We Trust “was made the official national motto in 1956, at the height of the Cold War, to signal opposition to the feared secularizing ideology of communism.
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Take some U.S. paper money out of your pocket and look at it. Why does it say “In God We Trust”? If you believe in God, do you think that He should be on our money? If so, it shows what I have always feared: money is the American religion.

And what if you don’t believe in God or have no religion? At least 23.1% of our population is atheist, agnostic or has no religion. Do you want religion to be forced upon you through our national money?

And consider the First Amendment. It says that our government should not establish religion. What could be a stronger way of establishing religion than to mark it on our national currency?

Yes, I know – the federal courts decided long ago that it didn’t violate the First Amendment to put In God We Trust on our currency. They basically determined that the use of the phrase on currency was secular in nature and not placed there for religious purposes. Excuse me if I don’t believe that even for a second. Frankly, I think we removed “E Pluribus Unum” from our money and replaced it with “In God We Trust” simply to embarrass those who don’t choose to call themselves Christians. “

In God We Trust “was made the official national motto in 1956, at the height of the Cold War, to signal opposition to the feared secularizing ideology of communism.

Atheist Ambassadors argue “In God We Trust” is discriminatory as: Not all Americans are religious; not all Americans who are religious are monotheistic and believe in a God; and not all monotheistic Americans believe in the God implied by national motto. “In God We Trust” is a not a motto that reflects universally shared historical values. Rather it represents a particular political, economic and religious perspective – one that is embraced by President Trump and the modern GOP.” Although “In God We Trust” is the official motto, “E Pluribus Unum” has long been acknowledged as a de facto national motto. After all, it is on the Great Seal of the United States, which was adopted in 1782. Moreover, in the 1770s and ’80s Congress opposed a theistic motto for the nation, and many of the founders worked hard to prevent one from being established.” Many of these founders were among those who adopted the First Amendment as part of the Constitution.

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In God We Trust “was made the official national motto in 1956, at the height of the Cold War, to signal opposition to the feared secularizing ideology of communism.

“In other words, “In God We Trust” is a legacy of founders, but not the founders of the nation. As the official national motto, it is a legacy of the founders of modern American conservatism — a legacy reaffirmed by the current Congress.”

As the founders of the nation did not want a theistic motto, the notion that the First Amendment does not prevent the In God We Trust motto by the government and that it is secular would not be something they would agree to.

In days like ours, where statues of Christopher Columbus are taken down as being offensive to Native Americans, we should likewise rethink In God We Trust. Why not something to which we can all agree, like “United We Stand,” or the historical “E Pluribus Unum”? There is little point in selecting a national motto which will be disliked by a quarter of the population and which has a history of not being approved by t he Founding Fathers.

michael hertz

It is fine to celebrate the United States as a religious country – that can be done in churches or privately. It should not be done by the government, which is meant to represent all people, non-religious as well as religious. We used to say “We the People” and mean only white people, not brown, black, and people of other shades. Let us be equally cognizant in dealing with religion.

Michael T. Hertz