‘In God We Trust’ history and motto of our country

Published 7:30 am Sunday, July 3, 2022

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If you tour the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol, you will see larger-than-life paintings depicting scenes of our country’s history. One of those shows the Pilgrims about to embark on the Holland, a sister ship to the Mayflower. On the sail are the words, “In God We Trust, God With Us.”

“In God We Trust” is declared in large letters on the wall of the U.S. Senate opposite the Vice President of the U.S. and behind the Speaker of the House of Representatives. “In God We Trust” is carved on the Washington Monument. The third verse of The Star-Spangled Banner reads, “Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just; And this be our motto: ‘In God Is Our Trust!’”

Our national motto is engraved on our coins and printed on our paper money. The words, “In God We Trust,” first appeared on a two-cent coin in 1864. According to a U.S. Treasury Fact Sheet, the motto was placed on coins “largely because of the increased religious sentiment during the Civil War.” By 1909, it was included on most coins.

Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase received many letters from devout people throughout the country urging the recognition on U.S. coins. In a letter instructing the Director of the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia to prepare a motto, Chase wrote, “No nation can be strong except in the strength of God, or safe except in His defense. The trust of our people in God should be declared on our national coins…..It was found that the Act of Congress dated January 18, 1837, prescribed the mottoes and devices that should be placed upon the coins of the United States.”

Even though Congress passed the legislation authorizing the motto for coins, it wasn’t until July 1956 that another law was passed officially declaring “In God We Trust” as our national motto. President Eisenhower signed a law making it mandatory that all coinage and paper currency display the motto. Despite lawsuits filed by atheists and other groups, the U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled the motto on currency does not violate the Constitution.

“In God We Trust.” What do these four words mean to each of us? First, we must trust Him with all our hearts, the innermost part of our eternal souls. John 3:16 says, “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

Believing is trusting in His unconditional love to forgive our sins when we pray. To help us turn from our wicked ways, He gives us a new life in Him on earth and the promise of eternal life with Him in heaven.

Then, living in personal relationship with the Lord, we learn to trust Him for our daily needs. Our hope and strength for each day comes as we trust in God. Proverbs 3:5-6 reads, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.”