Thursday, January 17, 2019
“In God We Trust”
“If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.” Luke 11:13
The phrase, “In God We Trust,” has been around for quite some time though it did not become the official motto of the United States until 1956. In a letter dating November 13, 1861, the Reverend Mark Watkinson, pastor of Prospect Hill Baptist Church in Ridleyville, Pennsylvania, petitioned the Treasury Department to add a statement recognizing “Almighty God in some form on our coins” in order to “relieve us from the ignominy of heathenism,” at least in part to declare that God was on the Union side of the Civil War. In December 1863, Abraham Lincoln's Secretary of the Treasury decided on a new motto, “In God We Trust,” to engrave on U.S. coins. A year later, the motto first appeared on the two-cent piece and has appeared on all U.S. currency since 1957, the year President Eisenhower and the 84th Congress passed legislation declaring the phrase the U.S. national motto.
Though some groups have expressed objections to its use, citing its religious reference violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, so far the arguments have not overcome the interpretational doctrine of accommodationism, which allows government to endorse religious establishments as long as they are all treated equally. But we know, as believers, there is an even higher doctrine at stake that makes this motto secure in our hearts whether it remains on our country's currency or not. Jesus affirmed this doctrine in connection with the practice of prayer when He suggested that when we pray, we can unequivocally trust the Heavenly Father to give us good gifts, even though they may not feel or appear good.