Nov 01, 2011

The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote today on a resolution reaffirming “In God We Trust” as the official national motto and encouraging its display in public places.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State urged Congress to stop squandering time on meaningless issues like this and move on to more important matters.

“The American people want action on jobs and the economy, yet this Congress continues to waste time pandering to the Religious Right,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “This meaningless, purely symbolic vote won’t create one job, help one family struggling to pay its mortgage or rebuild one piece of infrastructure.”

Added Lynn, “I think we know by now that this Congress likes God. Can we move on?”

The resolution, H. Con. Res. 13, is sponsored by U.S. Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.). It reaffirms “In God We Trust” as the official motto of the country and encourages its display in public buildings, public schools and other government institutions.

“In God We Trust” was confirmed as the national motto by act of Congress in 1956, during the height of the Cold War, and appears on American currency. The much older (1782) Great Seal of the United States, however, includes several Latin phrases, among them E Pluribus Unum (“Out of Many, One”) and Novus Ordo Seclorum (“A New Order of the Ages”).

Lynn said he believes these original mottos are more appropriate for America because they unify people and don’t divide on the basis of religion. But he noted that legal challenges to “In God We Trust” have failed and said it’s time for Congress and the Religious Right to quit pretending that the motto is under attack.

“Halloween is over,” Lynn quipped. “It’s time for the Religious Right and its congressional allies to stop trying to scare the American people with phony claims of a ‘culture war’ over the national motto. It’s a huge distraction from the important work our nation should be doing.”