The Congressional Prayer Caucus

 
In God We Trust
Posted by The Congressional Prayer Caucus | October 31, 2011

In January 2011, Congressman J. Randy Forbes introduced H.Con.Res.13, to reaffirm 'In God We Trust' as our national motto and encourage its display in public buildings and government institutions.  'In God We Trust' has been our nation's motto for over five decades.  It is part of our national anthem and alluded to in our Pledge of Allegiance.  It is written on our coins and our currency and is engraved in both the House and the Senate chambers, as well as in numerous public building across our nation.

 

In recent years, there has been an orchestrated and often well-financed attempt to remove even the mention of the word ‘God’ from the public arena.  These actions go far beyond any effort to separate church and state.  They go far beyond any attempt at revisionist history and actually result in a censorship of the rich history of faith America has enjoyed since her birth.

 

The pendulum has swung from efforts to prevent government from adopting a particular denomination or religion, to a point where there are daily efforts to convince our citizens that the mere mention of ‘God’ or ‘faith’ by a former president, statesman, member of the judiciary, or military leader must be censored and not displayed in the public arena.  Our children often have been made to feel it is inappropriate to even say the word ‘God’ in school.

 

To fuel these efforts, some have attempted to change our national motto on a de facto basis by denying that ‘In God We Trust’ is in fact our motto.  When efforts to change the motto are overwhelmingly rejected by the American people, those individuals or groups seek to remove the motto from display.   The result is confusion as to whether our motto has been changed or whether we have the right to display it.

 

The resolution to reaffirm our national motto and encourage its display had 64 bipartisan cosponsors and was reported favorably out of the House Judiciary Committee in March of 2011.  On November 1, 2011, 396 Members of the Congress voted to reaffirm ‘In God We Trust’ as our national motto and to encourage its display.  Only 9 Members refused to support it.

Why Reaffirm 'In God We Trust'?

President Obama inaccurately proclaims "E Pluribus Unum' our national motto.  Last November before a worldwide audience, in a much-anticipated and much-publicized speech focusing on the United States' relationship with the Muslim world, President Obama falsely proclaimed that our national motto was E pluribus unum. In reaction, 42 bipartisan Members of Congress wrote a letter calling on the President to correct his inaccurate statement, noting that the official national motto is In God We Trust. Not only did the President fail to issue a correction, he has failed to even respond to the letter. The uncorrected transcript of the Jakarta speech in which President Obama states, "In the United States, our motto is E pluribus unum -- out of many, one" remains on the White House websiteE pluribus unum has never been the motto of the United States.

 

Misunderstanding of the phrase "Separation of Church and State".  The First Amendment to the Constitution reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”   The words ‘separation of church and state’ do not appear in the U.S. Constitution.  Rather, the phrase originates from a letter penned by Thomas Jefferson on January 1, 1802, to the Danbury Baptist Association.  In fact, just two days after sending this letter, on January 3, 1802, President Thomas Jefferson attended a church service in the U.S. Capitol. The Supreme Court has held, “The First Amendment, however, does not say that in every and all respects there shall be a separation of Church and State. . . We find no constitutional requirement which makes it necessary for government to be hostile to religion.” 

 

Rogue Court Challenges.  Even despite the constitutionality of ‘In God We Trust’ being established by the courts, just since 1996 there have been 7 direct court challenges to the motto. These cases are not isolated to one area of the country; instead, one-third of our federal circuit courts across the United States have heard appeals challenging ‘In God We Trust’.   Some groups bringing these challenges directly seek "freedom from religion," a goal which grossly distorts the constitutionally-granted "freedom of religion." These cases have sought to challenge the motto itself, as well as its inscription on our currency and display on public buildings. In every case, the courts have upheld the constitutionality of the national motto.  Other court challenges have been brought in recent years aimed at prayer in school, the long-standing displays of crosses at veteran’s memorials, the words ‘under God’ in the Pledge of Allegiance, the National Day of Prayer, and the words ‘so help me God,’ frequently used to conclude the presidential oath of office. 

 

Inaccuracies and Omissions in the Half-Billion-Dollar Capitol Visitor Center.  In 2008, the over half-billion dollar Capitol Visitor Center opened for the purpose of educating over 15,000 Capitol visitors daily on the “legislative process as well as the history and development of the architecture and art of the U.S. Capitol.”  When finally opened, however, Capitol Visitor Center historians had sanitized the public building of any references to our national motto, including replacing the inscription of ‘In God We Trust,’ inscribed above the Speaker’s Rostrum with stars in a replica of the House Chamber and cropping an actual picture of the chamber so you could not see the words ‘In God We Trust.’  Additionally, a plaque was placed in the Visitors Center falsely "educating" visitors the national motto was “E Pluribus Unum.”  Only after Members of Congress intervened publically and legislatively were these omissions and inaccuracies corrected. 

Efforts to Remove God from Public Domain.  In recent years unelected government bureaucrats have become increasingly apt to remove, obscure, or bar references to God or our national motto, even when their actions reverse decades of long-standing traditions.  In most cases, congressional intervention and pressure was required to reverse the decision. 

  • The Department of Veterans Affairs attempted to ban flag folding recitations at military funerals that referenced God or religion, even if specifically requested by the family of the deceased.
  • The U.S. Mint attempted to remove the inscription ‘In God We Trust’ from the front of the new Presidential dollar and instead print it on the edge of the coin.  
  • The National Park Service attempted to turn a capstone replica of the Washington Monument, bearing the inscription "Laus Deo" or "Praise be to God" so the public could not read it.
  • The Navy and Air Force attempted to enact policies that would have affected the ability of military chaplains to pray according to their religious conscience.
  • The Architect of the Capitol refused a teen's request for a certificate noting his grandfather's "love of God, country and family" to accompany a souvenir flag that had flown over the building - a decision that would have prohibited even the Pledge of Allegiance from being printed on the flag certificates.
  • The Director of the Bureau of Land Management denied efforts to add President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s D-Day prayer to the National World War II Memorial. 

It is our History.

At our nation's founding.  Authors penned the Declaration of Independence writing, “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

 

In nation's infancy. Francis Scott Key wrote the poem that would become our national anthem the Star Spangled Banner containing the stanza, “And this be our motto—‘In God is our trust.’”

 

In the midst of the Civil War. President Lincoln addressing a war torn, weary, and divided nation, saying at the Gettysburg address, “this Nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

 

During the economic expansion of America's industrialization. Congresses passed the Coinage Act stating that the Secretary of the Treasury "may cause the motto ‘In God We Trust’ to be inscribed on such coins as shall admit of such motto."   

 

World War I. In his speech before Congress asking for a declaration of war, President Wilson said “…the day has come when America is privileged to spend her blood and her might for the principles that gave her birth and happiness and the peace which she has treasured.  God helping her, she can do no other.”

 

After nearly a decade of Great Depression. President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued a Thanksgiving proclamation saying, “Thus from our earliest recorded history, Americans have thanked God for their blessings. In our deepest natures, in our very souls, we, like all mankind since the earliest origin of mankind, turn to God in time of trouble and in time of happiness. ‘In God We Trust.’”

 

At D-Day facing Nazi advances on Europe. In his famous radio address, President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Americans to join him in praying, “Help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice…  As we rise to each new day, and again when each day is spent, let words of prayer be on our lips, invoking Thy help to our efforts.”

 

During the Baby Boom. ‘In God We Trust’ was inscribed above the south entrance door in the Senate chamber during the 1949-1951 reconstruction.

 

Cold War and Economic Prosperity. In a speech given during the Cold War, President John F. Kennedy said, “Today our Nation is passing through another time of trial… We will need to draw upon the best that this Nation has--often--and draw upon it physically and intellectually and materially.   But we need also to call upon our great reservoir of spiritual resources…  The guiding principle and prayer of this Nation has been, is now, and ever shall be ‘In God We Trust.’”

 

Civil Rights Movement. Two years after Brown vs. Board of Education and one year after Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a public bus, ‘In God We Trust’ was adopted as the official national motto of the United States.

 

Vietnam War. In the midst of the Vietnam War, President Lyndon Johnson said, “Not long ago I received a letter one morning from a mother whose son had been killed in Vietnam. . . .  She concluded, ‘…As long as we believe, our strength is in our faith in God and He will never fail us.’ So, my countrymen, in those words from that dear mother are to be found the greatness of this Nation and also the strength of its President.”

 

Reagan Years. In 1984, in an address to the nation, responding to an effort to remove prayer from our public schools, President Reagan said, “The first amendment of the Constitution was not written to protect the people from religion; that amendment was written to protect religion from government tyranny. . . .  The act that established our public school system called for public education to see that our children learned about religion and morality. References to God can be found in the Mayflower Compact of 1620, the Declaration of Independence, the Pledge of Allegiance, and the National Anthem. Our legal tender states, ‘In God We Trust.’ . . .  But now we're told our children have no right to pray in school.  Nonsense.  The pendulum has swung too far toward intolerance against genuine religious freedom. It's time to redress the balance.”

 

1990’s. Following the Oklahoma City bombings, President Bill Clinton delivered a speech saying, “I ask all Americans tonight to pray—to pray for the people who have lost their lives, to pray for the families and the friends of the dead and the wounded, to pray for the people of Oklahoma City. May God's grace be with them.”

 

Present day. In 2002, in response to a case challenging the words ‘under God’ in the Pledge of Allegiance, Congress passed and President Bush signed a law reaffirming the Pledge of Allegiance and ‘In God We Trust’ as our national motto.  Additionally, in 2006, the Senate reaffirmed ‘In God We Trust’ on the 50th anniversary of its adoption as the official national motto of the United States. On the night of the September 11 terrorist attacks, President George W. Bush delivered a speech to the nation saying, "Tonight, I ask for your prayers for all those who grieve, for the children whose worlds have been shattered, for all whose sense of safety and security has been threatened. And I pray they will be comforted by a power greater than any of us, spoken through the ages in Psalm 23: 'Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me.'”

 

Why Display 'In God We Trust'?

This month, 396 Members of Congress voted to support H.Con.Res.13 to encourage the display of ‘In God We Trust.’  When the motto was adopted by the Senate in 1956, the Congressional record noted that it “will be of great spiritual and psychological value to our country to have a clearly designated national motto of inspirational quality…”

 

From Francis Scott Key to President John F. Kennedy, some of the greatest leaders of our nation have recognized the importance and strength of the phrase ‘In God We Trust.’  It has guided this nation through wars, depressions, natural disasters, and challenges of every kind and nature.  Three hundred ninety-six Members voted to allow it to continue to provide hope and inspiration to our country and to display it for the world to see.

 

As President John F. Kennedy said in a speech given during the Cold War:

 

“Today our Nation is passing through another time of trial… We will need to draw upon the best that this Nation has--often--and draw upon it physically and intellectually and materially.   But we need also to call upon our great reservoir of spiritual resources…  The guiding principle and prayer of this Nation has been, is now, and ever shall be ‘In God We Trust.’”

 

When we display this great motto, we are heeding President Kennedy’s warning and helping to ensure that the guiding principle and prayer of this Nation ever shall be ‘In God We Trust.’

 

Comments
Users are solely responsible for the opinions they post here and their comments do not necessarily reflect the views of Congressman Forbes.
  • Linda Templet commented on 11/1/2011
    You lifted my spirit this morning. Thank you so very much for this article. God has always been recognized in our country as being the Supreme Ruler over Mans Nature. Our country is what it is because of our belief in an Almighty Power. There is Power in the name of God. His blood flows through my veins; but that blood is not the blood that you are thinking of. Is there more than one meaning to the word "blood"? Well we have a very big problem trying to understand a "Spiritual" book if we keep mixing spirit with body. The Bible says that God is a Spirit. This is a TRUTH. Even the Atheist would agree with that. So what kind of blood would a spirit have? It would have "LIFEBLOOD". Lifeblood is a VITAL element of animating influence. God is an animating influence in America. We can't see God's Face-- but we can see His Face Value. Would the Atheist stop fighting to take the Face of God out of our country if God was referred to as an animating influence to spiritually help guide our country in the good and right direction in life? God has surely influenced my life? Just going in the DEEP WATERS. Can any one else Swim in the deep waters? We must humble ourselves people and we MUST seek his face in order to fulfill this scripture. Where are the WISE MEN--Christmas is comming SOON! Understandest what you are reading? Throw the FAT away but keep the MEAT. The meat is good for the body and it is good for the soul. The Face of the animating influence will always be there. God Bless--
  • Sean Miller commented on 11/1/2011
    STOP WASTIN OUR TIME AND TAX DOLLARS ON SUCH NONSENSE AS THIS RIDICULOUS BILL ! GET BUSY ON THE THE REAL WORK THAT NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED, LIKE FIGURING OUT HOW TO JUMPSTART THIS ECONOMY AND GET PEOPLE WORKING AGAIN. IF YOU WERE SO GODLIKE YOU WOULD BE MORE CONCERNED ABOUT THE WELFARE OF THIS COUNTRY AND NOT THIS PIOUS CRAP. OH YEA, AND MAY GOD HELP YOU IN THE PROCESS.
  • Linda Templet commented on 11/2/2011
    Ridiculous Bill? How much time is being wasted on law suits concerning the mention of Gods name? Why aren't you complaining about that Sean? Our Congressmen and women are concerned about the peoples money being wasted in COURT COSTS concerning ATTACKS on account of religion. We have freedom OF religion in this country; not freedom FROM religion. They are just doing their job Sean, they are protecting religion from being attacked any longer. Good Job Congressman and women--Good Job. I am so proud of you all for standing up to acknowledge "In God We Trust". Americas Preventative Maintanence Program to stop a religious war from breaking out. IRS gave religions a tax exempt status; for the PURPOSE of the ADVANCEMENT of religion. These atheist 501 c 3 tax exempt organizations are trying to STOP religion from ADVANCING now our Congressmen and women are going to do their jobs that they get paid to do; they are going to STOP these 501 c 3 tax exempt educational organizations from trying to stop the advancement of religion. They will put an end to these attacks on account of religion. These atheist 501 c 3 tax exempt educational organizations better get ready. They are about to get RAPTURED out of this country. Oh that's right--they don't believe in the rapture. Our representatives just laid the solid and firm foundation; "In God We Trust"; an establishment of Americas national faith in Almighty GOD. Amen and Amen!
  • Barbara Huggins commented on 11/3/2011
    Thank you for standing up against those who would remove every thing our country was founded upon, one nation under God.
  • Terry Drensig commented on 11/5/2011
    Congressman Forbes, Please stop making laws respecting an establishment of religion. I do not need your help here. Sincerely, Terry Densig
  • Ike Iacono commented on 11/6/2011
    This nation was founded upon many things, but God was not one of them. The motto "In God We Trust" was formally added in 1956 during the Red Scare. In fact, "E Pluribus Unum" was the traditional motto of the US 1700s until the mid 20th century. Although it was never officially declared the national motto, it can be found on our money and national seal. I find it disingenuous that the Prayer Caucus does not recognize that the latter phrase is much more "traditional" in this country than the former.
  • Vic Bailey commented on 12/7/2011
    Congressman J. Randy Forbes, Congressional Prayer Caucus, Champion the Vote Thank you for all of your hard work in keeping this nation free and free to worship God freely, in private and in public as was when this nation was founded. May God bless you richly.
  • Jennifer Lawrence commented on 12/7/2011
    Thank you so much for holding our government officials accountable to honor this country's founding fathers' commitment to build this nation on Trust in God & also their commitment to ensure the freedom to express our religious beliefs in this nation. So many nations have suppressed that freedom. We are blessed by our heritage & by your helping to uphold that heritage. Yes! In God we trust! As we put Him first, He will restore our economy. This He has promised to do. Malachi chapter 3.
  • Iris Winters commented on 3/1/2012
    If we are consistent, we would understand that religion is the philosophy of life one takes that guides the intent of our actions. Thus atheism as well as secular humanism are themselves religions based not on Another as God but on self as supreme ruler of lives. If we persist in refusing to allow mention of God publicly by those who wish to do so, we are essentially establishing the religion of self as the State Religion of America. And we Americans have never wanted a State Religion. Tolerance means allowing another to do their thing. It does not mean forcing another to not do the thing one disagrees with. I am very grateful for the members of the Congressional Prayer Caucus for keeping our nation's history correct instead of merely politically correct. In my lifetime, until now, all Presidents used the phrase "God Bless America." If this President finds it distasteful to say "In God We Trust" that is his personal business to not use that phrase. But he does not have the constitutional authority to singly change our Nation's motto nor the authority to stop others from publicly using it. I believe in the God of the Bible, therefore I say In God I trust.
  • Diana Vaughan commented on 10/12/2013
    Dear Mr Forbes, I am ver pleased that you promoted and continue to support H.Con.Red.13 that up holds our nations motto of "In God we trust". Thank you for being brave enough to take leadership in this area. In today's political realm it can make you very unpopular with some people. Especially the ones that want to take the God out of every arena of our nations government. There has been a lot of support for that in recent years backed by large contributions. I realize that when you don't support those same view points then you will not receive any contributions from them. I was happy to see a large number of other congressman 396, that also supported you in keeping our Nation's Motto the same. I was really astounded to read about President Obama making a public declaration that our fine country's motto is E Pluribus Unum which means from many, one. It also surprised me to read that he ignored all the letters he received and still to this day has not corrected that comment. I am very thankful to know that you are working hard to help our country stick to the principles that were our foundation. In God we Trust has been a very important attribute of our country from the very beginning! I pray that over time we do not cave in to the pressure to remove God from all of our political stuff: pledges, buildings, statues, presidential benedictions, etc. it would be costly in the physical realm but even more costly to our country in the Spiritual Realm. Stay grounded in the truth and keep up the hard work! We are very appreciative of all you are doing to serve our country. Just know that you and your family will be lifted up in prayer as you work to defend the values we hold deeply. Warm Regards, Diana Vaughan
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Members of the Congressional
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Congressman J. Randy Forbes, Founder
& Co-Chairman

Congressman Mike McIntyre, Co-Chairman


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Contact the Congressional Prayer Caucus Amy Vitale, Amy.Vitale@mail.house.gov