Constitution Avenue

In God We Trust

In the modern day, the phrase "separation of church and state" is often used to attempt to prove that America has no interest in God or Christianity. While some recent court rulings and changes in the public school system may support this argument, there are countless historical facts and events that refute it. From the appointment of official chaplains for government functions, to voluntary prayer meetings at the Department of Justice, voluntary prayer at meals in U.S. armed forces, and inclusion of the phrase "so help me God" in the oaths for many elected offices, it is obvious that religious devotions are still a key part of our country’s operation. However, there is one such acknowledgement that every American can perceive on a daily basis and many fail to recognize its importance.
One of the most visible and powerful proclamations of the Deity of God is the phrase "In God We Trust". This bold statement first appeared on American coins in 1864 due to increased Christian faith during the civil war. It grew in support and favor until 1956 when a law was passed by congress and President Eisenhower that made "In God We Trust" the official national motto of the United States of America. This law was a reflection of a congressional ruling the previous year that mandated the phrase to appear on all U.S. currency in reaction to the Cold War. This quote, from the Congressional Record in 1955, reveals the intent of the ruling. "In these days when imperialistic and materialistic Communism seeks to attack and destroy freedom, it is proper to remind all of us of this self-evident truth, that as long as this country trusts in God, it will prevail." How shocked would America be today if Congress with the President at its side issue a similar statement? -Sean P. Mest

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