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Members of the Prayer Caucus to President Obama: Issue Correction for Inaccurate Reference of National Motto
Washington, D.C., December 6, 2010
Contact: Jessica Mancari (202) 225-6365

Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA-04), along with 42 bipartisan Members of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, today sent a letter to President Barack Obama calling on him to issue a correction to a speech he gave in Jakarta, Indonesia, in which he inaccurately referred to our national motto as being “E Pluribus unum.” The official national motto is “In God We Trust.”

“For the President of the United States to incorrectly state something as foundational as our national motto in another country is unacceptable. The President is the primary representative of our nation to the world, and whether mistake or intention, his actions cast aside an integral part of American society,” said Forbes. “President Reagan once warned that 'If we ever forget that we're one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.’”

In his speech on November 10, 2010 at the University of Indonesia in Jakarta, President Obama said “But I believe that the history of both America and Indonesia should give us hope.  It is a story written into our national mottos. In the United States, our motto is E pluribus unum - out of many one...our nations show that hundreds of millions who hold different beliefs can be united in freedom under one flag.”

“In God We Trust” has been a foundational phrase used throughout our nation’s history, from Presidential proclamations, to engravings in both the House and Senate chambers, to the oath taken by all federal employees. In 1956, Congress passed and President Eisenhower signed into law establishing “In God We Trust” as the official national motto of the United States. The motto is referred to in the national anthem and is engraved on U.S. coins and currency.

In addition, on October 18, during a fundraiser, President Obama said, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that each of us are endowed with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”  This was the third time in over a month that the President omitted the word “Creator” from the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration of Independence specifically recognizes God, the Creator, as the source of inalienable rights.

“Once may be a mistake. But twice is a pattern. These omissions and inaccuracies are a part of a larger pattern we are seeing with the President where he is inaccurately reflecting America and undercutting important parts of our nation’s history,” said Forbes. “Trust in God is embedded into the fabric of society and history in the United States. If we allow these threads to be pulled, we will begin to unravel the very freedoms that birthed America.”

In the letter, the members asked that the President issue a correction to the speech he gave in Jakarta and expressed their willingness to meet with him to discuss the issue further. A copy of the letter is available here.

The Congressional Prayer Caucus is a bipartisan group of Members of Congress dedicated to preserving America's religious heritage and protecting religious liberties. The Prayer Caucus successfully led efforts to ensure that “In God We Trust” was included in the newly constructed Capitol Visitor Center after it had been removed and the national motto incorrectly noted as “E Pluribus unum.” Congressman Forbes is founder and chairman of the Congressional Prayer Caucus.


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