Looking at a nickel: “Only in America do we engrave “In God We Trust” next to the portrait of a non-believer.” – Unknown
I find it rather odd to see on my money, “In God We Trust.” Who is we? It’s not me? It’s not the millions of Americans who are atheist, agnostics, deists, humanists, freethinkers, and so forth. So why is this still on our currency?
First, we need to know why this is wrong. The government is prohibited, and rightly so, from endorsing one religion over another or even theism over atheism for that matter. The United States is a melting pot of various races, cultures, religions (or non-religion), and to pick one group over another is….wrong, offensive, misrepresentative, and whatever other word you can find in a thesaurus.
The government is there to work for all people. To choose a side, religion or non-religion alike, is to dissolve the rights of the other. Now, I’m not saying that the United States should be an atheistic country because that would take the rights away from religious people. People should have the right to pray to Allah, they should have the right to go to church, the should have the right to celebrate Jesus during Christmas, they should also have the right to be wrong. Any person or group who wants to take this away from religious people are wrong themselves, and I would join the front lines of a protest against them.
Now let’s talk about how the phrase came to be. Congress first included the words “In God We Trust” on U.S. coins during the Civil War in 1864. Congress then passed a resolution in 1956, in response to the Cold War, to recognize the words officially as the national motto, replacing the phrase, “E Pluribus Unum” (which means – Out of Many, One). A year later, it began being printed on paper money.
You might be saying, “But it’s just a phrase. No one really pays attention to it.” Well, you’re wrong. This is the United States government not only endorsing a god but a monotheistic god (believe and worship only one god). This phrase disregards the polytheistic religions (worship many gods), such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Wicca, Taoism, Confucianism, and many others. This also ignores non-religious groups. Not only the the groups I stated before, but also naturalists, rationalists, skeptics, brights, and more.
The Freedom from Religion Foundation (ffrf.org), along with 19 other plaintiffs, have filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Treasury Department for discriminating against non-believers by including the words “In God We Trust” on our currency. Their argument is that the government is forcing non-believers to adopt a deity whenever money is being handled.
So is this really a big deal? For you theists out there, how would you like it if you were forced to use currency with the words “No Gods, No Masters” on it? I would like to hear your comments on this.