In God We Trust. Just four simple words. And yet their utterance and existence as our National Motto have recently become a rallying point for groups and individuals hostile to the notion that faith exists in America. Groups like the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) claim to want nothing to do with religion, and yet the mere presence of these four words as our National Motto create such strong feelings of angst that they repeatedly sue to wipe them from the public sphere. The ACLJ has consistently opposed the FFRF in these efforts, including our defense a statue of Jesus placed by World War II veterans nearly 60 years ago.
We recently filed an amicus brief in defense of the Capitol Visitors Center’s inclusion of the National Motto and Pledge of Allegiance. We filed this brief on behalf of Congressional Prayer Caucus Chairman, Congressman Randy Forbes, and 43 other Members of Congress. Congressman Forbes has been a faithful partner of the ACLJ and a consistent leader in Congress on these fundamental issues of faith in the public sphere.
That is why today’s news from the U.S. House of Representatives is so encouraging. Later today, the U.S. House will vote on H.Con.Res. 13, a resolution introduced by Congressman Forbes to reaffirm “In God We Trust” as our National Motto, and encourage its display in public buildings and government institutions. You can read more from Congressman Forbes about this resolution here.
Given the fact that “In God We Trust” was officially adopted as our National Motto more than 50 years ago, it might at first glance seem unnecessary for the U.S. House to publicly reaffirm its important place in our history. However, the very fact that attacks on the Motto have rapidly increased make it critical for Congress to fight back. We cannot allow the incremental removal of faith from the public sphere to occur while we do nothing. It is this same rationale that leads us at the ACLJ to engage the FFRF and other faith-hostile groups at every stage of the legal process. And it is why we applaud Congressman Forbes for introducing H.Con.Res. 13, and look forward to its approval by the U.S. House of Representatives.
Words have a powerful effect, and never has that been more true than with the words “In God We Trust.” Ironically, through its actions, the FFRF has acknowledged that power every bit as much as have people of faith. When the U.S. House reaffirms those words later today, it will add its collective voice to the chorus acknowledging the power of our National Motto.
Update: H.Con.Res. 13 - the "In God We Trust" resolution - overwhelmingly passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 396 to 9 (with 2 voting present).