A BRIEF HISTORY OF RELIGIOUS MOTTOES ON UNITED STATES CURRENCY AND COINS by Madalyn O'Hair

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********************************************************* A BRIEF HISTORY OF RELIGIOUS MOTTOES ON UNITED STATES CURRENCY AND COINS by Madalyn O'Hair ********************************************************* At the time of the founding of our nation, the situation in Europe was that the theocratic state of medieval times had completely disappeared. But no nation had adopted the idea of mutual independence of religion and political government. Expressions of the need for the same had been voiced by dissident groups and by some of the intellectual leaders of the eighteenth century Enlightenment. The prevailing situation was that one faith was favored as the official state-supported religion, but other faiths were permitted to exist with varying degrees of freedom. At one extreme was Holland, where wide freedom was allowed all sects and which gave asylum to the persecuted of all European countries. At the other extreme was Spain, where the Inquisition was still a reality in 1787 and where the spirit of medieval intolerance still prevailed. Religious wars had plagued Europe during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and were still remembered as recent history. In "People ex rel. Everson v. Board of Education," 330 U.S. 1, 1947, the United States Supreme Court noted: << The centuries immediately before and << contemporaneous with the colonization of << America had been filled with turmoil, civil << strife, and persecution, generated in large << part by established sects determined to << maintain their absolute political and religious << supremacy. With the power of government << supporting them, at various times and places, << [Roman] Catholics had persecuted Protestants, << Protestants had persecuted [Roman] Catholics, << Protestant sects had persecuted other << Protestant sects, [Roman] Catholics of one << shade of belief had persecuted [Roman] << Catholics of another shade of belief, and all << of these had from time to time persecuted Jews. << In efforts to force loyalty to whatever << religious group happened to be on top and in << league with the government of a particular time << and place, men and women had been fined, cast << in jail, cruelly tortured, and killed. Among << the offenses for which these punishments had << been inflicted were such things as speaking << disrespectfully of the view of ministers of << government-established churches, nonattendance << at those churches, expressions of nonbelief in << their doctrines, and failure to pay taxes and << tithes to support them. It was to this background that the Constitution of the United States spoke. At the Constitutional Convention, prayers at opening sessions were deliberately circumvented. The Constitution that emerged from that deliberation had not one word concerned with god. The omission was not inadvertent. It did not remain unnoticed. A number of ministers and congregations immediately contacted the new government to petition that some reference to god be put into the document. In ratification of the Constitution, theists in state after state raised their issue of concern: the lack of a reference to god. However, omission of an invocation to god and the proscription of religious tests for office in the proposed Constitution were acceptable to the American electorate when the voters were called on to pass the Constitution in ratifying conventions. The matter was completed in 1789, the Constitution being ratified and declared to be in effect the first Wednesday in March of that year. Washington was elected to the presidency and began to serve as of April 30, 1789. At that time, 4 percent of the populace of the United States was church-involved and every major statesman was a deist, including the first six presidents of the United States. The first directions as to mottoes on currency were given in Statute II, Chapt. III, January 18, 1837, "An Act supplementary to the act entitled `An Act establishing a mint, and regulating the coins of the United States.' " In it (a) Sec. 2, Sixth read: << The engraver shall prepare and engrave, << with the legal devices and inscriptions, all << the dies used in the coinage of the mint and << its branches. And Sec. 13 read: << *And be it further enacted,* That upon the << coins struck at the mint there shall be the << following devices and legends; upon one side << of each of said coins there shall be an << impression emblematic of liberty, with an << inscription of the word LIBERTY, and the year << of the coinage; and upon the reverse of each << of the gold and silver coins, there shall be << the figure or representation of an eagle, with << the inscription United States of America, and << a designation of the value of the coin; but on << the reverse of the dime and half dime, cent and << half cent, the figure of the eagle shall be << omitted. The coinage was totally secular; as clean from a mention of god as was the Constitution. However, the theistic community grew. At the time of the passage of this law churches could claim 12 percent of the population, and by the time of pre-Civil War days church membership had risen to 16 percent of the population (by 1850), and to 23 percent by 1860. Hoping to overcome the omission of the mention of god in the Constitution, on February 3, 1863, eleven Protestant denominations (including United Presbyterians and the Methodist Episcopalian General Conference) organized the National Reform Association, which had as one of its principal purposes to amend the Constitution of the United States to "declare the nation's allegiance to Jesus Christ," to "indicate that this is a Christian nation," and to "undeniably" put the "legal basis" of the land on "Christian laws, institutions and usages." The association formally petitioned Congress to amend the preamble of the Constitution so as to read: << We, the people of the United States, HUMBLY << ACKNOWLEDGING ALMIGHTY GOD AS THE SOURCE OF ALL << AUTHORITY AND POWER IN CIVIL GOVERNMENT, THE << LORD JESUS CHRIST AS THE RULER AMONG THE << NATIONS, HIS REVEALED WILL AS THE SUPREME LAW << OF THE LAND, IN ORDER TO CONSTITUTE A CHRISTIAN << GOVERNMENT, and in order to form a more perfect << union, establish justice, insure domestic << tranquility, provide for the common defense, << promote the general welfare, AND SECURE THE << INALIENABLE RIGHTS AND THE BLESSINGS OF LIFE, << LIBERTY, AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS TO << OURSELVES, OUR POSTERITY, AND ALL THE PEOPLE, << do ordain and establish this Constitution for << the United States of America. (emphasis added) The Christian amendment never succeeded in obtaining either the approval of Congress or of any of the states, but the National Reform Association continued its efforts into the twentieth century, when up to the late 1950s its registered lobbying agents were still contacting the United States Congress. The National Reform Association attracted many eminent men into its ranks, both before and after its formal structuring in 1863. These were men such as Supreme Court Justice William Strong, Prof. J. H. McIlvaine of Princeton, former governors J. W. Geary and James Pollock of Pennsylvania, J. M. Harvey of Kansas, J. W. Stewart of Vermont, and the Commissioner of Public Schools of Rhode Island, to name the most notable. James Pollock, who became the Director of the Mint, figures largely in the placing of the motto "In God We Trust" on U.S. coins. He was born in Milton, Pennsylvania, on September 11, 1810, graduated from Princeton, and began law practice in Pennsylvania in 1833. He served in Congress from 1844 to 1848. He was presiding judge of the 8th Judicial District from 1851 to 1855 and governor of Pennsylvania from 1855 to 1858. President Lincoln picked him as the mint's tenth director in 1861, and he remained in that job until he resigned in 1867. The addition of the motto "In God We Trust" on coins of the United States becomes, then, more than an innocent happenstance. What the religious fanatics who advocated the Christian amendment could not do overtly, through the will of the electors, was accomplished covertly, through the determination of one of their members, James Pollock, i.e., the recognition of the nation's dependence upon the will of the Christian god was broadcast on our coins if not in our Constitution. The person who first (allegedly) addressed the federal government for the inclusion of a religious motto on the coins was Rev. Mark Richards Watkinson. In the folklore of theistic America, he was the pastor at First Particular Baptist Church in Ridleyville, Pennsylvania, in 1861 when he proposed the same. The facts, however, are different. In early years Mark Watkinson prepared himself for the ministry at the University of Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, later named Bucknell University, and then at the Columbian College, now George Washington University, in Washington, D.C. He was still a young man, not yet ordained, in 1851 when he first served at the First Particular Baptist Church in Ridleyville. (This church has been modernized and enlarged, and is now Prospect Hill Baptist Church, Seventh & Lincoln Avenues, Prospect Park, Pennsylvania.) The Rev. Watkinson left the church in 1853 to take up service as the pastor of the Schuylkill Baptist Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he remained until 1861. He left the ministry in that year and died sixteen years later on September 26, 1877, at the age of 52. According to a Committee on Coinage, Weights, and Measures Report to accompany H.R. 17296, titled "To Restore The Motto `In God We Trust' to The Coins of The United States," reported out on February 27, 1908, a "History of the Motto `In God We Trust' " is given: << From the records of the Department [of the << Treasury] it appears that the first suggestion << of the recognition of the Deity on the coins << of the United States was contained in a letter << addressed to the Secretary of the Treasury, << Hon. S. P. Chase, by the Rev. M. R. Watkinson, << minister of the gospel, Ridleyville, Pa., under << date of November 13, 1861, which was as << follows: << << "Ridleyville, Pa., November 13, 1861 << "Dear Sir: You are about to submit your << annual report to Congress respecting the << affairs of the national finances. << "One fact touching our currency has << hitherto been seriously overlooked. I mean the << recognition of the Almighty God in some form << in our coins. << "You are probably a Christian. What if our << Republic were now shattered beyond << reconstruction? Would not the antiquaries of << succeeding centuries rightly reason from our << past that we were a heathen nation? What I << propose is that instead of the Goddess of << Liberty we shall have next inside the 13 stars << a ring inscribed with the words `perpetual << union'; within this ring the all-seeing eye << crowned with a halo; beneath this eye the << American flag, bearing in its field stars equal << to the number of the States united; in the << folds of the bars the words `God, liberty, << law.' << "This would make a beautiful coin, to << which no possible citizen could object. This << would relieve us from the ignominy of << heathenism. This would place us openly under << the divine protection we have personally << claimed. From my heart I have felt our national << shame in disowning God as not the least of our << present national disasters. << To you first I address a subject that must << be agitated. << << "M. R. Watkinson, << "Minister of the Gospel" The letter showed a great concern for and knowledge about "the things which are Caesar's" (Matt. 22:21). Within a week, Salmon P. Chase had sent a letter to the new Director of the Mint, James Pollock. << 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. << Yours truly, << S. P. Chase What could not be done through the will of the people was done through the scheming of several men. Neither man, however, could effectuate the change. The Act of January 18, 1837, had dictated inscriptions and mottoes. Enabling legislation was needed to make a change. Toward that end, James Pollock immediately began to work on a motto. First the five words "Our Trust Is In God" were tried, but they took too much space. To attain brevity, at one point it was fairly well settled by Pollock and his staff that the four words "Our Trust In God" would be used. It was preferred over Watkinson's "God, Liberty, Law." Other mottoes considered and dictated were "Our God and Our Country" and "God And Our Country." Before the year was out, bronze patterns for a half dollar and a $10 gold piece were minted using "God Our Trust," which was preferred by Pollock, although over the next few years a number of trial pieces were minted to show the various mottoes under consideration. In December 1863 designs were submitted to the Secretary of the Treasury. The Secretary of the Treasury in a reply letter addressed to the Director of the Mint, dated December 9, 1863, noted: << I approve of your mottoes, only suggesting << that on that with the Washington obverse the << motto should begin with the word, "Our," so as << to read, "Our God And Our Country." And on that << with the shield it should be changed so as to << read, "In God We Trust." The coin motto had been given birth. Congress was approached and "An Act in Amendment of an Act entitled, `An Act Relating to Foreign Coins and the Coinage of Cents at the Mint of the United States,' approved February twenty-one, eighteen hundred and fifty-seven," was passed by Congress on April 22, 1864. That act read as follows: << *Be it enacted by the Senate and House of << Representatives of the United States of America << in Congress assembled,* That, from and after << the passage of this act, the standard weight << of the cent coined at the mint of the United << States shall be forty-eight grains, or one << tenth of one ounce troy; and said cent shall << be composed of ninety-five per centum of tin << and zinc, in such proportions as shall be << determined by the director of the mint; and << there shall be from time to time struck and << coined at the mint a two-cent piece of the same << composition, the standard weight of which shall << be ninety-six grains, or one fifth of one ounce << troy, with no greater deviation than four << grains to each piece of said cent and two-cent << coins; and the shape, mottoes, and devices of << said coins shall be fixed by the director of << the mint, with the approval of the Secretary << of the Treasury; and the laws now in force << relating to the coinage of cents and providing << for the purchase of material and prescribing << the appropriate duties of the officers of the << mint and the Secretary of the Treasury be, and << the same are hereby, extended to the coinage << provided for. Mint Director Pollock had "carte blanche" and could, at his discretion, Christianize our coins. The first public issue coin to employ the new motto was the bronze two-cent piece. By June 30, 1865, Pollock was able to report that 26,780,000 of the two-cent pieces had been minted, all at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Finally, the actual motto was considered in "An Act to authorize the Coinage of Three-Cent pieces, and for other Purposes," passed by Congress on March 3, 1865, Section Five of that Act being: << *And be it further enacted,* That, in addition << to the devices and legends upon the gold, << silver, and other coines [sic] of the United << States, it shall be lawful for the director of << the mint, with the approval of the Secretary << of the Treasury, to cause the motto "In God We << Trust" to be placed upon such coins hereafter << to be issued as shall admit of such legend << thereon. By 1865, church affiliation had dropped to 15 percent of the population, the events of the Civil War having had a chilling effect on religion. There was little use for the two-cent piece on which the motto was first used, and after the Civil War it lost its popularity. Authority to redeem and melt the two-cent pieces was given the mint by a congressional act of 1871. None were minted after 1873. While authority to place "In God We Trust" on all coins had been given by the Act of 1865, it was some time before it was effectuated. In 1866 the motto was placed on $5, $10, and $20 gold pieces, silver quarters, halves, and dollars, and on the shield nickel, new in that year. It was dropped from the nickels -- from the 1883 Liberty Head -- until sculptor Felix Schlag placed it on the Jefferson nickel of 1938. The first dime with the motto was the Winged Liberty (Mercury, the Roman god who served as herald and messenger of the other gods) of 1916. It was not assigned to the twenty-cent pieces, trade dollars, or $1, $2.50, and $3 gold pieces. The next person to influence coinage design was Theodore Roosevelt. He had long been interested in art and sculpture, and was quite excited when he encountered, on August 3, 1903, an equestrian statue of General Sherman at the Fifth Avenue entrance to Central Park, New York. The sculptor was Augustus Saint-Gaudens. Roosevelt immediately commissioned Saint-Gaudens to prepare his inauguration medal. The quality of the medal was so excellent that he decided to change the nation's coinage designs, which he considered to be of poor artistic quality. He questioned Secretary of the Treasury Leslie M. Shaw, who told him that there was no legal impediment to his requesting new coin designs from Saint-Gaudens. Shaw pointed out that the Director of the Mint, with the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury, had discretionary power, that coin design was not mandated by Congress. Roosevelt immediately wrote the artist (November 6, 1905) and commissioned new designs. Saint-Gaudens reworked various designs for over eighteen months, and Roosevelt was closely interested in the conceptualizations. Saint-Gaudens's son, in writing his father's biography, notes, << Finally he attacked the difficult problem of << the inscriptions by placing upon the previously << milled edge of the coin, in one case, the << forty-six stars and, in the others, the << thirteen stars with the "E Pluribus Unum." The << motto "In God We Trust," as an inartistic << intrusion not required by law, he wholly << discarded and thereby drew down upon himself << the lightning of public comment. It is << interesting to discover in regard to this that << Secretary Salmon P. Chase received quite as << severe a censure for placing the words upon << this coin as was aroused by their removal. << ("The Reminiscences of Augustus << Saint-Gaudens," edited by Homer Saint-Gaudens.) Roosevelt's efforts to change the coins were met with stiff resistance from mint officials who resented his intrusion into their interest sphere. Roosevelt, however, was quite concerned to have attractive coins and saw that the work on them was pushed (which included the necessity of purchasing a new Janvier machine). The first coins were put into circulation about November 18, 1907. At this point the public had become aware that the motto "In God We Trust" had been dropped from the new $10 and $20 gold pieces. The matter became a religious and political issue. The church publications of the day, however, tended overwhelmingly to support Roosevelt. For example, a major Presbyterian publication, "The Westminster," commented in part: << The motto is a relic from the days when pious << phrases were inscribed on regalia, public << documents, weapons of war, and coins. They have << been omitted, one by one, not perhaps because << real trust in God has waned, but because of an << increasing sense of their incongruity and a << keener sense of their true meaning. Roosevelt's reasoning for the omission has been ascribed to certain letters he purportedly wrote. One such is reproduced in "The Letters of Theodore Roosevelt," edited by Elting E. Morison (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1952). This letter is written to Rev. Roland C. Dryer of Nunda, New York, one of the persons protesting through organizations and individually, concerned with the omission of the motto from the coinage. This letter was dated November 11, 1907. However, another letter written allegedly to William Boldly was "discovered" in an auction of the Bowers and Ruddy Galleries' American Auction Association, under number 1249 of the Kensington Collection, and was sold in 1975. The Harvard issue book had been printed twenty-three years prior. The letters are identical -- as follows: << Dear Sir: When the question of the new << coinage came up we lookt [sic] into the law and << found there was no warrant therein for putting << "IN GOD WE TRUST" on the coins. As the custom, << altho [sic] without legal warrant, had grown << up, however, I might have felt at liberty to << keep the inscription had I approved of its << being on the coinage. But as I did not approve << of it, I did not direct that it should again << be put on. Of course the matter of the law is << absolutely in the hands of Congress, and any << direction of Congress in the matter will be << immediately obeyed. At present, as I have said, << there is no warrant in law for the inscription. << << My own feeling in the matter is due to my << very firm conviction that to put such a motto << on coins, or to use it in any kindred manner, << not only does no good but does positive harm, << and is in effect irreverence which comes << dangerously close to sacrilege. A beautiful and << solemn sentence such as the one in question << should be treated and uttered only with that << fine reverence which necessarily implies a << certain exaltation of spirit. Any use which << tends to cheapen it, and, above all, any use << which tends to secure its being treated in a << spirit of levity, is from every standpoint << profoundly to be regretted. It is a motto which << it is indeed well to have inscribed on our << great national monuments, in our temples of << justice, in our legislative halls, and in << buildings such as those at West Point and << Annapolis -- in short wherever it will tend to << arouse and inspire a lofty emotion in those who << look thereon. But it seems to me eminently << unwise to cheapen such a motto by use on coins, << just as it would cheapen it by use on postage << stamps, or in advertisements. As regards its << use on the coinage we have actual experience << by which to go. In all my life I have never << heard any human being speak reverently of this << motto on the coins or show any sign of its << having appealed to any high emotion in him. But << I have literally hundreds of times heard it << used as an occasion of, and incitement to, the << sneering ridicule which it is above all things << undesirable that so beautiful and exalted a << phrase should excite. For example, thruout << [sic] the long contest, extending over several << decades, on the free coinage question, the << existence of this motto on the coins was a << constant source of jest and ridicule; and this << was unavoidable. Everyone must remember the << innumerable cartoons and articles based on << phrases like "In God we trust for the other << eight cents," "In God we trust for the short << weight," "In God we trust for the thirty-seven << cents we do not pay," and so forth and so << forth. Surely I am well within bounds when I << say that a use of the phrase which invites << constant levity of this type is most << undesirable. If Congress alters the law and << directs me to replace on the coins the sentence << in question the direction will be immediately << put into effect; but I very earnestly trust << that the religious sentiment of the country, << the spirit of reverence in the country, will << prevent any such action being taken. << Sincerely yours << Theodore Roosevelt The pressures of the religious community, which ignored any concept of state/church separation, were felt in Congress, and in 1908 that body considered a bill to make the use of the motto "In God We Trust" a requirement of law. A report was issued by the Committee on Coinage, Weights, and Measures to accompany H.R. 17296, and the thrust of this report was that the "measure simply reflects the reverent and religious conviction which underlies American citizenship." The report also characterized the United States as a "Christian nation" and evidenced that the intent of the motto was religious. The report follows: << Your subcommittee deems it unnecessary to << recount in detail the history of the << legislation which required the stamping of this << significant motto on certain denominations of << gold and silver coinage of the United States, << except to say that by the act of January 1837 << mottoes and devices for our coins were << prescribed, and that in April 1864, in March << 1865, and in February 1873, laws were enacted << by Congress providing substantially that the << words "In God We Trust" might be inscribed upon << such coins of the United States as would admit << of such inscription, and that in pursuance of << such authority the Hon. Salmon P. Chase, the << then Secretary of the Treasury of the United << States, directed that the inscription "In God << We Trust" be stamped on gold and silver coins << of certain denominations. << << Numerous petitions have been referred to << your subcommittee from various sources << throughout the United States asking Congress << to restore this motto on the coinage as has << been done since the passage of the acts above << referred to, and until the omission of the same << from certain gold coins of the United States << known as "The St. Gaudens." These petitions all << ask for the restoration of the inscription as << it existed before the issuance of the gold << coins referred to. Your subcommittee has, << therefore, confined itself to a compliance with << these recommendations. << << Your subcommittee is unanimous in the belief << that as a Christian nation we should restore << this motto to the coinage of the United States << upon which it was formerly inscribed "as an << outward and visible form of the inward and << spiritual grace," which should possess and << inspire American citizenship, and as an << evidence to all the nations of the world that << the best and only reliance for the perpetuation << of the republican institution is upon a << Christian patriotism, which, recognizing the << universal fatherhood of God, appeals to the << universal brotherhood of man as the source of << the authority and power of all just government. << . . . The report was, of course, more a political polemic than a statement of fact. As we have seen, the motto "In God We Trust" had not been specifically approved by Congress until after the Civil War. Our monetary pieces had, from the beginning of the nation, been free from such a motto and, in fact, only some coins had been so imprinted, but not all. As it became obvious that the House of Representatives was going to vote in favor of the bill, Roosevelt talked to Senator Thomas Carter (R-MT) in respect to the report from the Committee on Coinage, Weights, and Measures. << The Congressman says the House Committee << wants to pass a bill restoring the motto to the << coin. I tell him it is not necessary; it is << rot; but the Congressmen say there is << misapprehension as to the religious purport of << it -- it is easy to stir up a sensation and << misconstrue the President's motive -- and that << the Committee is agitated as to the effect of << a veto. I repeat, it is rot, pure rot; but I << am telling the Congressman if Congress wants << to pass a bill re-establishing the motto, I << shall not veto it. You may as well know it in << the Senate also. The bill was passed in the House on March 8, 1908, and in the Senate on May 13, 1908, becoming Public Law No. 120: << An Act Providing for the restoration of << the motto, "In God We Trust" on certain << denominations of the gold and silver coins of << the United States. << << Be it enacted by the Senate and House of << Representatives of the United States of America << in Congress assembled, That the motto "In God << We Trust," heretofore inscribed on certain << denominations of the gold and silver coins of << the United States of America, shall hereafter << be inscribed upon all such gold and silver << coins of said denominations as heretofore. << << Sec. 2. That this Act shall take effect << thirty days after its approval by the << President. Theodore Roosevelt signed it, as approved, on May 18, 1908. The Congress had reacted in a "de minimis" fashion, and it was unclear at this point if other coins than those which had borne the motto should have it. However, when the Lincoln penny came out in 1909 it bore the motto. The occasion was the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln. The designer of the coin was Victor D. Brenner, and this was the first time that a one-cent piece had borne the motto. It is interesting to note what Abraham Lincoln thought about the idea of Christianity (from a letter written in 1862 to Judge J. A. Wakefield, a lifelong and intimate friend): << My earlier views of the unsoundness of the << Christian scheme of salvation and the human << origin of the Scriptures have become clearer << and stronger with advancing years and I see no << reason for thinking I shall ever change them. Mary Todd Lincoln said "Mr. Lincoln had no hope and no faith in the usual acceptance of those words." William Herndon, law partner of Abraham Lincoln, in "What Great Men Think of Religion" (Ira D. Cardiff, Christopher Publishing House, Boston, 1945), wrote: << Let me say that Mr. Lincoln was an << Infidel. He did write a little work on << infidelity in 1835-6, and never recanted. He << was an out-and-out Infidel, and about that << there is no mistake. As indicated above, the first dime with the motto appeared in 1916 and it was not assigned to the quarters, the $2.50, or the $3.00 gold pieces. Later, the Cold War was to come to the United States and with it the hysteria of McCarthyism. In this climate the religious community again moved to capture the symbols of the nation. In hysterical language -- "one of the greatest differences between the free world and the Communists, a belief in God" (reprinted from the Committee on the Judiciary, May 10, 1954) -- it was urged that the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag be altered to recognize god. PS 623 (77th Cong., 56 Stat.) effectuated that end. On June 7, 1955, H.R. 619, "Providing for the inscription of `In God We Trust' on all United States Currency and Coins," was introduced in the House. The author of the bill made his intent clear (Congressional Record, June 7, 1955, pp. 7795-96): << Nothing can be more certain than that our << country was founded in a spiritual atmosphere << and with a firm trust in God. While the << sentiment of trust in God is universal and << timeless, these particular four words In << God We Trust are indigenous to our country. . << . . At the base of our freedom is our faith in << God and the desire of Americans to live by His << will and by His guidance. As long as this << country trusts in God, it will prevail. To << serve as a constant reminder of this truth, it << is highly desirable that our currency and coins << should bear these inspiring words, In God << We Trust. Representative Gross sarcastically interjected: << I wonder if American currency with the << inscription "In God We Trust" will be << acceptable in Communist Poland in payment for << the canned hams that are pouring into this << country in competition with American farmers << and packers. The report from the Committee on Banking and Currency which was submitted with this bill reported: << One reason that this situation has not been << remedied heretofore has been the prohibitive << cost involved in the necessary redesigning of << the dies used in printing currency. However, << the Bureau of Engraving and Printing is now << planning technological improvement in its << printing equipment which will require the << preparation of new dies. Therefore, the << inscription "In God We Trust" can be << incorporated in the new dies with very little << additional cost. The House passed the bill. On June 29, 1955, Lyndon Baines Johnson (D-TX) introduced Calendar No. 642, H.R. 619, and Senator Johnson emphasized that "for almost a century, there has been no inscription on our currency reflecting the spiritual basis of our way of life." The Senate passed the bill. One of the persons most instrumental in campaigning for this slogan had been Matthew R. Rothert, chairman of the board (and treasurer) of the Camden Furniture Manufacturing Company. Mr. Rothert, in an interview in his home on November 11, 1953, stated that the idea for placing the motto on paper money had come to him while he was attending church. The enthusiastic response from the religious community had encouraged him to present his idea to Secretary of the Treasury George M. Humphrey, President Dwight Eisenhower, and Secretary of Commerce Sinclair Weeks. Commenting on the credit given to him for his part in the successful move to have the motto placed on the paper money, he emphasized: << Please give any credit to the Lord, who gave << me the idea and enabled it to be accomplished. The Cold War, however, was not over, nor were the residuals of McCarthyism. On March 22, 1956, H.R. Res. 396 was introduced to establish "In God We Trust" as a national motto. The history of the placing of this motto on our coins and currency evidences the religious origin of it and demonstrates that the entire exercise is an establishment of religion. ******************************************************* Copyright American Atheist Press. All rights reserved. Printed copies of this pamphlet can be obtained from: American Atheist Press P. O. Box 140195, Austin, Texas 78714-0195. Stock #8295. Please refer to current catalog and price list for pricing and availability. *********************************************************************** * * * American Atheists website: http://www.atheists.org * * PO Box 140195 FTP: ftp://ftp.atheists.org * * Austin, TX 78714-0195 * * Voice: (512) 458-1244 Dial-THE-ATHEIST: * * FAX: (512) 467-9525 (512) 458-5731 * * * * Atheist Viewpoint TV: avtv@atheists.org * * Info on American Atheists: info@atheists.org, * * & American Atheist Press include your name and mailing address * * AANEWS -Free subscription: aanews-request@listserv.atheists.org * * and put "info aanews" in message body * * * * This text may be freely downloaded, reprinted, and/other * * otherwise redistributed, provided appropriate point of * * origin credit is given to American Atheists. * * * ***********************************************************************

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