Thursday, November 3, 2011

In God We Trust

Today the US Congress voted to keep the official motto of the United States of America: "In God We Trust."  President Obama responded stating that (I paraphrase), "In God we trust will not put people back to work,"  (http://politics.blogs.foxnews.com/2011/11/02/obama-god-we-trust-vote-not-creating-jobs)

The words "In God We Trust"  have been on coins since the 1860's.  In the 1950's it was then applied to paper money.  The use of this motto came from US Treasury Secretary Salmon Chase who served under the Presidency of Abraham Lincoln.  It is seen everywhere, in courts, patriotic songs, documents, even in the final verse of the Stars Spangled Banner .

This motto reflects the ideals of a nation that fought for independence, existence, and rights against larger more powerful nations.  Early Americans used primitive weapons and guerilla warfare in order to fight against the powerful, organized British military.   As we all know, they won!

Recently a reporter on WPIX named Lionel gave a critique regarding the use of this motto.  He claimed it is "stupid, a waste of money and a contradiction of the 1st amendment."

Moreover, he suggested that the Republican party somehow has exclusivity to God.

Is it really stupid and a waste of money?   Does the motto really contradict the 1st amendment?

Not at all.

A motto that has been a part of the fabric of the United States of America since its infancy is anything but stupid.  The money spent to vote on it perhaps, but not the motto itself.  As for it being a contradiction, that is a misinterpretation of the 1st amendment.

The amendment reads:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."


This merely states that Congress cannot make any religion officially part of the government nor endorse one; nor can it prohibit any religion from freely exercising its beliefs within the union.  It says nothing about the government using motto's that mention a deity in a general way, nor the government using prayer.


Not all religions have a deity.  Buddhism is an example.  "In God we trust" has no religious value whatsoever to a Buddhist.  To claim that the motto endorses religion is ridiculous.  It is merely a statement that the United States of America trusts in a God.  Which God?  Just God.    


As a former atheist, I never had a problem with the motto.  I saw it not as an expression of faith, but a recollection of America's history.  It is a principle that the early Americans followed in order to help build this great nation.  If I were living in another nation and its money said, "In Zeus we trust" or "In Allah we trust," I would not get offended.  I must be an intelligent tolerant adult about it and realize that the particular nation using the motto is reflecting its history and ideals.  


The 1st amendment came into existence not to get rid of religion or separate it from the State, but rather to reflect on and answer the hardships the early settlers had in Europe where particular denominations had temporal power.  


America was going to be a nation that did not repeat what was experienced in Europe, but rather to start a new experiment.  A nation with freedom for all regardless of gender, faith or social status.  A nation "of the people, by the people, and for the people."  That was the idea behind this amendment.  It was not meant to have the Church and State point guns at each other. 


The suggestion that the Republicans are the only party that endorse God, Faith, Religion or Morals is unfounded.  There are Democrats, Independents and many political parties who also share these ideals.  President Obama, a Democrat is a Christian, so is former President Clinton.  Speaker Nancy Pelosi is a Catholic.  God does not belong to the Republicans or any particular party.  God is for anyone who is open to faith.       


No one can deny that the American Fathers were theists and that this nation was indeed founded on Judeo-Christian ideas.  We should accept and respect our nation's history and how our ancestors did things.  


A nation without God never thrives.  


Nations that have gone the route of secularism are disappearing from the face of the world.  France, Great Britain, Spain are examples.  We must return to the simplicity the early Americans had and trust God.  If we kick God out and try to do it ourselves, we will destroy ourselves.  




Here is some Scripture I am sure the American Founding Fathers read and were inspired by:




“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their nation.” 2 Chron. 7:14


“A nation without God's guidance is a nation without order. Happy are those who keep God's law!” Proverbs 29:18


“When there is moral rot within a nation, its government topples easily; but with honest, sensible leaders there is stability.” Proverbs 28:2


  


God bless America and yes: IN GOD WE TRUST!   AMEN





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