The following article is an opinion piece and reflects the views of only the author and not those of AllOnGeorgia.
By: Ken Herron
On the 4th of July in 1776 when the Declaration of Independence was signed Thomas Jefferson had written that man “was endowed by his creator” to have life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The United States of America was a Christian nation from the beginning. Many of the men who signed both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were ministers in their respective Christian religions. There were no believers in any other faith present in either of these groups. We have been a Christian nation since the day of our beginning.
The original motto of the United States was “E pluribus unum” and it appeared on the Great Seal of the United States in 1782. It means “From Many, One”. The expanded meaning was “From Many Nations, One Nation” and it implied that everyone that immigrated to the United States would conform and become a part of one nation.
When Francis Scott Key wrote the song “The Star Spangle Banner”, He included in the fourth stanza the words, “And this be our motto: ‘In God is our Trust’ ”.
The phrase “In God we Trust” is not a verbatim quote from the Bible. Psalm 91:2 states, “I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress; my God in him will I trust”. The fact that it is not a verbatim Bible quote has played a part in the lawsuits that have tried to ban it.
Abraham Lincoln was president in 1864 when a new two-cent coin was produced and it contained the phrase “In God We Trust”. Most new coins after this time had the phrase inscribed on them. The inscription on the coins of the United States during the Civil War was meant to imply that God was on the side of the Union. Congress passed the “Coinage Act of 1864” to permit this motto on coins. From 1883 until 1938 some of the coins had the phrase removed and it eventually created an outcry. Since 1938 all coins have had the phrase inscribed on them. In 1956 when the cold war against the Soviet Union was in progress, the Congress passed a resolution declaring that “In God We Trust” was our national motto. It passed both houses with a unanimous vote without any debate. It was
signed into law by President Dwight Eisenhower. On the same day a law was passed requiring that the phrase must be on all currency both paper and coins.
Up until this time the phrase was permitted but it was not required.
In 2011, there was a resolution reaffirming “In God We Trust” as the official motto of the United States. It passed the House of Representatives with a 396-9 vote. In 2013, the Freedom From Religion Foundation brought a suit in federal court to remove the phrase from our currency. The court ruled against the organization.
Several states have added the phrase to their states official shield. Tennessee, Arkansas, and Florida passed laws requiring the schools to post In God We Trust in prominent locations in the schools. A number of states have posted the phrase on the automobile tags.
The use of the word God has been challenged in the courts a number of times. The challengers state that this puts the federal government in the position of supporting a particular religion. The courts have ruled that all religions support the idea of a Supreme Being and this phrase does not specify one over the other.
It has nothing to do with the establishment of a particular religion. The phrase in the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag that states that states that one nation shall be under God seems to have come from President Lincoln. In 1948, an attorney named Louis Albert Bowman led the Illinois Society of the Sons of the American Revolution in saying the Pledge of Allegiance and he added the words Under God to the pledge. In 1951 the Catholic Knights of Columbus organization adopted the change to the Pledge of Allegiance and began adding
Under God to the Pledge of Allegiance each time it was quoted. It was brought to the Congress several times and was not accepted. In 1954 President Eisenhower attended church on Lincoln’s birthday at Lincoln’s favorite New York Avenue Presbyterian Church. He was sitting in the Lincoln pew. The pastor preached a message covering Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. In this he spoke of how Lincoln wanted the term “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance. The following day President Eisenhower called his aids in Congress and asked that a law changing the wording of the Pledge of Allegiance be sent to him. Four months later President Eisenhower signed this bill into law. This change was unsuccessfully
challenged in the courts and remains the official version to this day.
Every president beginning with George Washington has been sworn into office with an oath which ended with the four words, “So help me God”. Every session of Congress has been opened with prayer since 1787.
Every preamble to the state constitutions of each state asks for help from Almighty God.
The United States is a Christian Nation that is tolerant of other religions and will allow citizens the freedom of religion to worship the god of their choice. One of the first actions of Socialists will be to eliminate all of the references to God from our government actions. Who can forget that at the National Democratic Convention in Charlotte a few years ago when the name of God was mentioned the crowd responded with a loud boo?
God has been a part of our nation since the beginning of the nation.
The President was also the President of the American Bible Society. The Rotunda was used as a Sunday Worship Chapel for several years. Many of the buildings have references to God inscribed in the marble.