The 113th Congress should
- reject all legislation which is inconsistent with our national motto
America's National Motto is "In God We Trust," made so by an official act of Congress.
Is this just an empty slogan?
To "trust" God means to obey God. Does America obey God's Commandments?
Atheists and secularists have suggested that our national motto is not representative of the original intent of the Founding Fathers and the Constitution, since it was not made our national motto by Congress until 1956. But the idea of trusting God -- that is, obeying God -- goes back to the very founding of this nation. There is overwhelming evidence to show that the Constitution was never intended nor understood to deny the fact that human beings -- both as individuals and in their institutions (such as "the State") -- have duties given them from God which they are obligated to obey.
Our nation's founding charter admits it has a duty to obey "the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God."
Not just individuals "down in their hearts," but our government was to be "under God." Ecclesiastical and political power could be kept separate, but there is nothing in the Constitution which separates America from God and from True Religion.
Our laws were patterned after the Ten Commandments. In this way our legislators acknowledged their duty to conform their political acts to the will of God. By making laws for the nation which conformed to the Higher Law of God, legislators acknowledged that this was a nation "under God."
Until the rise of the ACLU and the myth of the "separation of church and state," the Constitution never prevented a politician from publicly acknowledging God or performing his public duties in accord with God's Commandments.
In Engel v Vitale, 370 U.S. 421, 440 (1962), the case which removed voluntary prayer from government schools, Justice Douglas, concurring, provided the following in footnote 5:
|The Pledge of Allegiance, like the [voluntary New York government school] prayer [which the Court in this case banned], recognizes the existence of a Supreme Being. Since 1954 it has contained the words "one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." 36 U.S.C. 172. The House Report recommending the addition of the words "under God" stated that those words in no way run contrary to the First Amendment but recognize "only the guidance of God in our national affairs." H. R. Rep. No. 1693, 83d Cong., 2d Sess., p. 3. And see S. Rep. No. 1287, 83d Cong., 2d Sess. Senator Ferguson, who sponsored the measure in the Senate, pointed out
that the words "In God We Trust" are over the entrance to the Senate Chamber. 100 Cong. Rec. 6348. He added:
"I have felt that the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag which stands for the United States of America should recognize the Creator who we really believe is in control of the destinies of this great Republic.
"It is true that under the Constitution no power is lodged anywhere to establish a religion. This is not an attempt to establish a religion; it has nothing to do with anything of that kind. It relates to belief in God, in whom we sincerely repose our trust. We know that America cannot be defended by guns, planes, and ships alone. Appropriations and expenditures for defense will be of value only if the God under whom we live believes that we are in the right. We should at all times recognize God's province over the lives of our people and over this great Nation." Ibid. And see 100 Cong. Rec. 7757 et seq. for the debates in the House.
The Act of March 3, 1865, 13 Stat. 517, 518, authorized the phrase "In God We Trust" to be placed on coins. And see 17 Stat. 427. The first mandatory requirement for the use of that motto on coins was made by the Act of May 18, 1908, 35 Stat. 164. See H. R. Rep. No. 1106, 60th Cong., 1st Sess.; 42 Cong. Rec. 3384 et seq. The use of the motto on all currency and coins was directed by the Act of July 11, 1955, 69 Stat. 290. See H. R. Rep. No. 662, 84th Cong., 1st Sess.; S. Rep. No. 637, 84th Cong., 1st Sess. Moreover, by the Joint Resolution of July 30, 1956, our national motto was declared to be "In God We Trust." 70 Stat. 732. In reporting the Joint Resolution, the Senate Judiciary Committee stated:
"Further official recognition of this motto was given by the adoption of the Star-Spangled Banner as our national anthem. One stanza of our national anthem is as follows:
"`O, thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
Between their lov'd home and the war's desolation!
Blest with vict'ry and peace may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto - "In God is our trust."
And the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.'
"In view of these words in our national anthem, it is clear that `In God we trust' has a strong claim as our national motto." S. Rep. No. 2703, 84th Cong., 2d Sess., p. 2.
This expression goes back to the very earliest days of our nation:
Congress passed a bill instructing the Director of the Mint to place the motto "IN GOD WE TRUST" upon all coins issued whose size would admit the words—an appropriate motto for a Christian Nation.
William Jackman, History of the American Nation, Chicago: Hamming Publishing Company, 1913, vol.4, p.1172.
George Bancroft, History of the United States of America from the Discovery of the Continent, New York: Appleton, 6 vols., 1882, Vol.3, Chapter 32: The Towns of Massachusetts Hold Correspondence, August 1772-January 1773, p.428-29
To send an American across the Atlantic for trial for his life was an intolerable violation of justice; Hutchinson urged what was worse, to abrogate the Rhode Island charter. In this hour of greatest peril, the men of Rhode Island, by the hands of Darius Sessions, their deputy governor, and Stephen Hopkins, their chief justice, appealed to Samuel Adams for advice. And he answered immediately that the occasion "should awaken the American colonies, and again unite them in one band; that an attack upon the liberties of one colony was an attack upon the liberties of all, and that, therefore, in this instance all should be ready to yield assistance."
Employing this event to promote a general union, the Boston committee, as the year went out, were, "by the people's thorough understanding of their civil and religious rights and liberties, encouraged to trust in God that a day was hastening when the efforts of the colonists would be crowned with success, and the present generation furnish an example of public virtue worthy the imitation of all posterity."
In a like spirit, the eventful year of 1773 was rung in by the men of Marlborough. "Death," said they, unanimously, on the first of January, "is more eligible than slavery. A free-born people are not required by the religion of Jesus Christ to submit to tyranny, but may make use of such power as God has given them to recover and support their laws and liberties." And, advising all the colonies to prepare for war, they "implored the Ruler above the skies that he would make bare his arm in defence of his church and people, and let Israel go."
These are not the kind of colonists who would have ratified a Constitution which denies the idea that we are a Christian nation "under God."
"As we are in a remote wilderness corner of the earth, we know but little," said the farmers of Lenox; "but neither nature nor the God of nature requires us to crouch, Issachar-like, between the two burdens of poverty and slavery."
Few politicians can tell us about this allusion to "Issachar," but they would be quick to claim that our Founding Fathers never quoted the Bible. (see
"We prize our liberties so highly," thus spoke the men of Leicester, with the districts of Spencer and Paxton, "that we think it our duty to risk our lives and fortunes in defence thereof." "For that spirit of virtue which induced your town at so critical a day to take the lead in so good a cause," wrote the town of Petersham, "our admiration is heightened, when we consider your being exposed to the first efforts of power. The time may come when you may be driven from your goodly heritage; if that should be the case, we invite you to share with us in our small supplies of the necessaries of life; and, should we still not be able to withstand, we are determined to retire, and seek repose among the inland aboriginal natives, with whom we doubt not but to find more humanity and brotherly love than we have lately received from
our mother country." "We join with the town of Petersham," was the reply of Boston, "in preferring a life among the savages to the most splendid condition of slavery; but heaven will bless the united efforts of a brave people."
It could be said that the motto of the Boston Tea Party was "In God We Trust." Bancroft describes the plotting of the Party in a famous Boston Church:
The first difficulty to be overcome existed in Boston itself. Cushing, the speaker, who had received a private letter from Dartmouth, and was lulled into confiding in "the noble and generous sentiments" of that minister, advised that for the time the people should bear their grievances. "Our natural increase in wealth and population," said he, "will in a course of years settle this dispute in our favor; whereas, if we persist in denying the right of parliament to legislate for us, they may think us extravagant in our demands, and there will be great danger of bringing on a rupture fatal to both countries." He thought the redress of grievances would more surely come "if these high points about the supreme authority of parliament were to fall asleep." Against this feeble advice,
the Boston committee of correspondence aimed at the union of the province, and "the confederacy of the whole continent of America." They refused to waive the claim of right, which could only divide the Americans in sentiment and confuse their counsels. "What oppressions," they asked, in their circular to all the other towns, "may we not expect in another seven years, if through a weak credulity, while the most arbitrary measures are still persisted in, we should be prevailed upon to submit our rights, as the patriotic Farmer expresses it, to the tender mercies of the ministry? Watchfulness, unity, and harmony are necessary to the salvation of ourselves and posterity from bondage. We have an animating confidence in the Supreme Disposer of events, that he will never suffer a sensible, brave, and virtuous
people to be enslaved."
George Bancroft, History of the United States, Vol.3,
Chapter 34: The Boston Tea-Party, August-December 1773
The authority of Parliament was questioned only because of the rights and absolutes given by the Creator, in Whom the colonists trusted.
On the morning of Monday, the thirteenth, the committees of the five towns were at Faneuil [Church] Hall, with that of Boston. Now that danger was really at hand, the men of the little town of Malden offered their blood and their treasure; for that which they once esteemed the mother country had lost the tenderness of a parent, and become their great oppressor. "We trust in God," wrote the men of Lexington, "that, should the state of our affairs require it, we shall be ready to sacrifice our estates and everything dear in life, yea, and life itself, in support of the common cause." Whole towns in Worcester county were "on tiptoe to come down." "Go on as you have begun," wrote the committee of Leicester, on the fourteenth; "and do not suffer any of the teas already
come or coming to be landed, or pay one farthing of duty. You may depend on our aid and assistance when needed."
George Bancroft, History of the United States, Vol.3,
Chapter 34: The Boston Tea-Party,August-December 1773, p.454
"We trust in God," said the Founding Fathers as they plotted the Boston Tea Party in a now-famous Church. But separationists want us to believe these same men took America out from "under God" and made it a secular nation. Impossible.
At the end of this great day the mind of John Adams heaved like the ocean after a storm. "The greatest question," he wrote, "was decided which ever was debated in America, and a greater, perhaps, never was nor will be decided among men. When I look back to 1761, and run through the series of political events, the chain of causes and effects, I am surprised at the suddenness as well as greatness of this revolution. Britain has been filled with folly, and America with wisdom. It is the will of heaven that the two countries should be sundered forever; it may be the will of heaven that America shall suffer calamities still more wasting and distresses yet more dreadful. If this is to be the case, the furnace of affliction produces refinement in states as well as individuals; but I submit all my hopes
and fears to an overruling Providence, in which, unfashionable as the faith may be, I firmly believe.
George Bancroft, History of the United States, Vol.4, Chapter 28:
The Resolution and the Declaration of Independence, July 1-4, 1776
"Unfashionable" in France, maybe, but not in America.
"Had a declaration of independence been made seven months ago, we might before this hour have formed alliances with foreign states; we should have mastered Quebec, and been in possession of Canada; but, on the other hand, the delay has many great advantages attending it. The hopes of reconciliation which were fondly entertained by multitudes of the honest and well-meaning, though weak and mistaken, have been gradually and at last totally extinguished. Time has been given for the whole people maturely to consider the great question of independence, so that in every colony of the thirteen they have now adopted it as their own act.
"But the day is passed. The second day of July 1776 will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America; to be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival, commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty, from one end of the continent to the other, from this time forward forevermore.
"You will think me transported with enthusiasm, but I am not. I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure that it will cost us to maintain this declaration, and support and defend these states; yet, through all the gloom, I can see the rays of light and glory; that the end is worth all the means; that posterity will triumph in that day's transaction, even though we should rue it, which I trust in God we shall not."
John Adams, Letter to Abigail Adams, July 3, 1776
John Adams' trust in God was publicly proclaimed in official proclamations, not restrained by the Constitution.
In more recent history, even the favorite of all liberals, FDR, was publicly afraid to deny the truth of America's Christian history:
In the constitution and in the practice of our Nation is the right of freedom of religion. But this ideal, these words, presuppose a belief and a trust in God.
Public Papers of the Presidents, F. D. Roosevelt, 1936, Item 228
Address before the Inter-American Conference for the Maintenance of Peace, Buenos Aires, Argentina. December 1, 1936
Ditto Harry Truman:
Fellow citizens:Public Papers of the Presidents, Truman, 1949, p.541, Item 246
The United States has been a deeply religious Nation from its earliest beginnings. The need which the founders of our country felt--the need to be free to worship God, each man in his own way--was one of the strongest impulses that brought men from Europe to the New World. As the pioneers carved a civilization from the forest, they set a pattern which has lasted to our time. First, they built homes and then, knowing the need for religion in their daily lives, they built churches. When the United States was established, its coins bore witness to the American faith in a benevolent deity. The motto then was "In God We Trust." That is still our motto and we, as a people, still place our firm trust in God.
Radio Address as Part of the Program "Religion in American Life."
October 30, 1949 [Broadcast from the White House at 11:25 p.m.]
How about JFK?
No man who enters upon the office to which I have succeeded can fail to recognize how every President of the United States has placed special reliance upon his faith in God. Every President has taken comfort and courage when told, as we are told today, that the Lord "will be with thee. He will not fail thee nor forsake thee. Fear not--neither be thou dismayed."
While they came from a wide variety of religious backgrounds and held a wide variety of religious beliefs, each of our Presidents in his own way has placed a special trust in God. Those who were strongest intellectually were also strongest spiritually.
Public Papers of the Presidents, J. F. Kennedy, 1961, p.76, Item 26,
Remarks at the Dedication Breakfast of International Christian Leadership, Inc. February 9, 1961
Even Nixon knew the political necessity of publicly putting his trust in God:
As long as I am your President, I shall keep America on that road. I shall keep this country strong militarily, strong economically, [p.1069] and strong in the moral values and the trust in God which is our ultimate defense.
Public Papers of the Presidents, Nixon, 1972, p.1068 - p.1069, Item 388
Radio Address on Defense Policy. October 29, 1972
Nixon merely followed in the footsteps of his pious predecessor:
By the President of the United States of America a Proclamation
Even as they deliberated the conception of this Nation, our forefathers, mindful of the frailties of mortal men, turned for guidance to Almighty God.
Their humble and sincere prayer, delivered in their belief that all good things are the gift of God, established a reliance that remains unbroken.
As did our founding fathers, our people continue to place their trust in God.
Public Papers of the Presidents, L. B. Johnson, 1965, p.1053, Item 557
Remarks Upon Signing Proclamation "National Day of Prayer, 1965.''
October 7, 1965
Democrats have long placed their trust in God.
Having assembled in National Convention as the delegates of the Free Democracy of the United States, united by a common resolve to maintain right against wrongs, and freedom against slavery; confiding in the intelligence, patriotism, and the discriminating justice of the American people, putting our trust in God for the triumph of our cause, and invoking his guidance in our endeavors to advance it, we now submit to the candid judgment of all men the following declaration of principles and measures:
Free Democratic Platform of 1852
National Party Platforms, p.18
All of these statements violate a central tenet of the religion of Secular Humanism and its "separation of church and state" dogma. In Allegheny v. ACLU, the Court
squarely rejects any notion that this Court will tolerate some government endorsement of religion. Rather, [we] recognize any endorsement of religion as "invalid," id., at 690, because it "sends a message to nonadherents that they are outsiders, not full members of the political community, and an accompanying message to adherents that they are insiders, favored members of the political community," id., at 688.
Allegheny County v.Greater Pittsburgh ACLU, 492 U.S. 573, 595 (1989)
But all of these statements prove that this is a Christian nation, a nation "under God."
Part Two: For more on the religious foundations of American Government.
next: Campaign Finance, Corruption and the Oath of Office