I should have seen this debate coming. I received several e-mails admonishing that, “they’ve done it, they’ve taken “In God We Trust” off the dollar coin.
Absolutely not true! The new coin has smooth edges instead of ridged edges. These smooth edges are now the home for the two mottos – In God We trust, and E Pluibus Unum. The date of striking and the mint are also on the edges of the coins.
In God We Trust has not always been on our money – either coins or paper. The motto became popular during the Civil War due to increasing religious sentiment, so apparently, the religious right had some clout even back then. As far as paper money goes, the motto did not appear until almost a hundred years later in 1957. Again, religious sentiment was on the rise due to the cold war with a “Godless” Soviet Union.
Money was not the only item to be changed to reflect the notion that God should be honored in some obvious way. The Pledge of Allegiance was also modified in the 1950s to insert the words “under God”. The original Pledge, at least the one that was most recent to the 1954 change, read as follows:
I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands: one Nation indivisible, With Liberty and Justice for all.
Many individuals believe the Pledge always carried the words “under God”, and they often react with disbelief when they learn those words are only 50 years old. In fact, the 50th birthday of the modification of the Pledge will occur this June 14th – Flag Day.
For many years, the Bellamy salute, shown in the picture, was used. The Pledge would begin with the hand over the heart, and at the phrase “to the flag” the hand would be outstretched toward the flag and would remain so for the rest of the Pledge. However, with the rise of Fascism and Nazism, the custom was changed to place the hand over the heart for the entire Pledge.
I am always amazed at the issues about which individuals choose to debate. But, I truly hope that, as a Nation, we have too many critical issues to discuss and resolve than whether the phrase, “In God We Trust”, is stamped in the appropriate place on the new coins.