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Was the "In God We Trust" Resolution Really Necessary?

The House of Representatives recently passed a resolution reaffirming “In God We Trust” as the official motto of the United States. The 396-9 vote came at the request of Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA). “There’s been no motto in U.S. history that’s been more inspirational than ‘In God We Trust,’” he said, noting that he felt it was appropriate for members of Congress to “firmly declare our trust in God.” The resolution not only affirmed “In God We Trust” as the national motto, but it also “encourages its display in public buildings and government institutions.”
At first this seems like an effort to make it appear that Congress is actually doing something. Our nation has a number of problems that Congress has not acted to solve, and in many cases the majority in Congress has obstructed reasonable attempts at legislation that would solve them. I’m sure they wish that God would step in and help them out of the messes they’ve helped create, but I firmly believe that man has free will and that God expects us to solve our own problems, particularly the ones that we create. Congress needs to put its house in order.
Still, it would be rather hard to vote against such a resolution and I think that many Representatives who saw it as the political ploy it was, still felt it necessary to vote for it. It must have taken a lot of courage for those nine people to vote against it, and they are already being singled out for ridicule and harassment . They may even see their political careers damaged because they do not happen to be of the same faith as Representative Forbes. But wasn’t that the point?
Well, probably not. Apparently it was meant as a rebuke to President Obama who referred to “E Pluribus Unum” as our motto in an attempt to get Congress to try to unite for the good of the country. Instead, they showed him that they could be as divisive as they want. I see no reason we can’t have more than one motto and I think that E Pluribus Unum is needed more now than religious divisiveness.
Apparently Representative Forbes and some other members of Congress have a rather short view of history, as “In God We Trust” was not adopted until 1956. After declaring independence, the Continental Congress appointed Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson to devise a seal . The official United States seal had “E Pluribus Unum” when it was adopted by Congress in 1782. E Pluribus Unum was our de facto motto for about 150 years and it appears on our coins, currency, passports, and the seals of all three branches of government. It originally symbolized the many colonies and states merging into one nation and more recently that people of many races, religions and ancestries merged into a single people and a single nation. That is what the founding fathers intended and it is an important part of our heritage.
Although much has been made about the Representatives who voted against the resolution, I am more interested in the Representatives who voted for it. Do their votes mean they will follow the teachings of Jesus, give up any sinful and greedy ways, practice their religion in private, tell the truth, and minister to the sick and the poor. If they really trust in God, should they not follow the teachings of Jesus? I think we should insist on it. Please write them and tell them so.
(c) 2011 J.C. Moore

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