The history of the motto is intriguing. “In God We Trust” developed over many years as it was stamped on our coins dating back to pre-civil war days (1830’s to 60’s). After the civil war, and into the early 1900’s the motto found its way on all US coin currency; from time to time it disappeared but then came back indefinitely in 1938 – but not on paper money. Not yet. Then on July 30, 1956, President Eisenhower signed into law, along with the 84th Congress, that this will be America’s motto – then it was printed on paper money as well. The law passed easily because of the motto’s intrinsic nature: It developed primarily out of a desire to say that God was on the side of the North, the Union, in Civil War days. And then under Eisenhower, the desire was to say to Russia during the Cold War, that God was on our side.
Knowing a bit of its history, the aim has been to say that we Americans trust in God to keep our political freedoms in check against all tyranny, both domestic and foreign. As an American, I too want the God who made heaven and earth to provide a peaceful, just, and safe life for me and my family. I too want to live in relative peace with Mexico and Canada, and with the rest of the world, as much as it lies within our country’s scope of interest. But here is the crux:
I’m a Christian before an American Citizen. And this nation’s motto does not say what I believe. Here is proof: Ask yourself if this country would approve of replacing “In God We Trust” with “In Jesus Christ We Trust” and what does your heart tell you? In 2003, Gallop, Today, and CNN conducted a joint Poll, and concluded that 90% of Americans still approve of the motto as is. But what if God were replaced with Jesus Christ, you know, the man who is the Son of God? If you have no problem with the Father, surely you’ll have no problem with his Son – or would you?
Could it be then that most Americans do not really trust in the only God there is, the one who sent his Son, but the one made in their image – the one in whom we want to keep us safe from other countries, to keep our taxes low, our currency value high, balance the budget, maintain the right to bear arms, keep interest rates low, and provide cheap gas?
The God that I trust in sent his Son Jesus to absorb the consequences of my sin so that I could live, not merely in a country, but, “the meek shall inherit the earth.” In God (the Father ) We (disciples of Christ) Trust (in his plan to exalt his Son over all things so that those who belong to Christ may live forever in a new earth where peace will never end).
Now that’s a motto I can live and die for, and one that will provide so much more than the American one.