The History of the Motto 'In God We Trust'

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

"In God We Trust" — that's what it says on our greenbacks. It's the national motto and on Tuesday, the House voted to reaffirm the motto. Virginia Congressman J. Randy Forbes, the man who sponsored the bill, says that this vote is to "directly confront a disturbing trend of inaccuracies and omissions, misunderstandings of church and state, rogue court challenges, and efforts to remove God from the public domain." There are about five Democrats who have challenged the bill, but everyone else seems to be pretty much on board.

But what is the history of the national motto? Kenneth C. Davis, the author of "Don't Know Much About History," explains.

Comments [15]

Angel from Miami, FL

We should get rid of the "trust god" motto. Like Prohibition, this was a bad idea from the start.

Saying "in god we trust" is like putting on the autopilot to our national destiny. Why worry about problems when god will fix it for us in the end? He never steers for me when I drive eyes closed.

Nov. 03 2011 10:06 AM
Patricia MacQueen from Billerica, MA, USA

I am a British American and grew up in the Church of England but many years ago became a Buddhist practicing in a Tibetan tradition. Buddhists do not believe in God but we are as religious and spiritual as anyone. I feel excluded by the motto "In God we trust" even though my values have been very much molded by a Protestant form of Christianity.

Nov. 03 2011 09:06 AM
K E Swanson from Staten Island, NY

I think we should hearken back to our original motto, e pluribus unum. I feel like we need something that would inspire unity, and I don't think the vote taken in Congress was meant to unify anyone.

Nov. 02 2011 01:07 PM
Mountainbiker from Stillwater OK

We may be broke, but we have the most weapons.

Nov. 02 2011 11:00 AM
Pam from MN

In Humanity We Trust

Nov. 02 2011 09:23 AM
Jan Lindemann from NYC

I also thought of "in money we trust" as I heard a caller suggest. But why not get straight to the heart of the way Congress operates now--"Greed is GOOD!!!"

Nov. 02 2011 09:19 AM
Paul from Boston, MA

Glad to see Congress has the time to devote to this extremely unimportant topic.

I guess that means everything else is OK now?

Nov. 02 2011 09:05 AM
Karl from Detroit

Has everyone lost their minds and forgotten all history?

Our motto is E Pluribus Unum: "Out of Many, One". It's on the Great Seal of the United States since the founding.

"In God We Trust" is a modern contrivnace from the Cold War and the fear of the "godless commies".

Nov. 02 2011 09:02 AM
Eliot from Manhattan

When I set in a NYC jury-duty courtroom call I stared in angst at the "In God We Trust" large wall sign and thought of its purpose. Did it mean I had to calculate what God would have said about the potential crime discussed in court? Were God's thoughts part of the legal process? What if I have never understood the natives' God, or, actually, any of the Gods? How would I reach a verdict? Should I have declared to the judge my lack of understanding the signage's meaning?

Nov. 02 2011 08:40 AM
Dan Elliott from Kings Park NY

Why don't we just be honest and change it to "In money we trust".

Nov. 02 2011 08:35 AM
Ed from Larchmont

- The EU took their Judeo-Christian heritage out of their constitution ... look what's happening to them.

- It reminds me of St. Faustina who was told to paint a picture of Jesus with the words 'Jesus I trust in you' at the bottom, in the 1930s.

-E pluribus unum, still on our money, refers more to our founding and present state, In God we Trust refers more to our future. We need both.

Nov. 02 2011 08:24 AM
Michael Cody from Paris, TX

How about, "Trust voters -they're you."

Nov. 02 2011 08:23 AM
Lance from Minnesota

Fictional America under a fictional figure head. Makes non-sense.

Nov. 02 2011 08:18 AM
Mike B. from Groveland, MA

Now, more than ever (in plain English):
"Out of many, one." Can't we just all get along?

Nov. 02 2011 06:40 AM
mark troia from boston, ma

it's non-sense, waste of time. and republicans think god is on their side,...........really?

E PLURIBUS UNUM thank you very much,

hey, why not in" Allah we trust?."

Nov. 02 2011 06:28 AM

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