The phrase "In God We Trust" was added to our coinage in the midst of the American Civil War for political reasons.
England's parliament was considering backing the Confederate states in hopes of gaining lower tariffs on the cotton needed by England's textile mills.
England's clergy had been foremost in pressing for an end to the slave trade, and Lincoln's administration hoped the addition of a religious phrase to our coinage would mobilize that clergy against any alliance with slave-holding Southern states.
Obviously, this was less from godliness and more from political expediency. In the midst of the Cold War, our nation's motto, E Pluribus Unum, was scrapped and a new motto established as In God We Trust and under God was added to the Pledge of Allegiance.
Eisenhower gloated that in signing the congressional bill into act, American schoolchildren would now begin each day glorifying the Almighty. Again, all of this was less motivated out of godliness and more by political posturing against godless communism.
Our founders, in the wording of their declaration, selected the all-inclusive Creator, rather than opting for a Judeo-Christian phrase.
This was by design, not by accident. They well understood, as one letter to your paper stated, that intolerance breeds intolerance. Some of these same patriots would later author and press for passage of the Bill of Rights amendments to our Constitution, one a guarantee of freedom from government control of religion. The court is recognizing this suit to prevent forced by inclusion of the phrase, is a step toward the freedom envisioned by our nation's founders.
Religious scholars are also coming forward in support of the court decision. They believe that adding the phrase mixed religion and politics, thus thwarting the separation of church and state envisioned by our founders, and also ignoring the admonitions against such vainness by many religions.
Maybe it is time for us to say our prayers (or not) in our homes and places of worship, and say our pledge as our founders envisioned, free from political pandering.
Jim Fox Lodi
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