Subject: The Foundation of America – In God We Trust
Jeremiah 17:5,7 “Cursed is the man who trusts in man.. Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord.”
In his fifth book, ‘Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph’, Dennis Prager maintains that what makes America the greatest social experiment in the history of the world, and gives America the ability to combat evil, is its value system, which is unlike any civilization in history. American values are not race-based, nor are they religion-based nor ethnic-based. American values are ideals-based. He shares the three ideals that make American great as engraved on our currency.
The first ideal is ‘E Pluribus Unum’, which is Latin for ‘from many, one’. We in America don’t really care where each of us is from. We are immigrants, from all around the globe, united together as one nation.
The second ideal was the subject of last week’s article – ‘Liberty’. As our Declaration of Independence reminds us, liberty is one of the three ‘unalienable rights’ (‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’) that has been given to all people by their Creator. The idea of liberty as a value is not an American invention. But the ideal of our founding fathers tying liberty to God is uniquely American. No other civilization in history claims its citizens’ freedoms are given to them by their God.
And the third ideal, which like the other two is engraved on our currency and is the foundation of the other two, is ‘IN GOD WE TRUST’. America as a nation was actually founded on the concept that the God of the Bible is the very source of its national values. America as a nation was founded on the belief that human rights do not come from other men, but from God.
The phrase ‘IN GOD WE TRUST’ first appeared on US coins in 1864, and then on paper currency in 1957. In 1956, as we were embroiled in the Cold War against the Soviet Union, the 84th Congress passed a resolution to declare ‘IN GOD WE TRUST’ as the national motto of the United States. This was a deliberate act by our nation to distinguish itself from the state atheism of the Soviets. Today, Public Law 84-851 documents this fact.
In 2006, on the 50th anniversary of its inception, the US Senate reaffirmed ‘IN GOD WE TRUST’ as the official national motto of the United States of America. And only 3 years ago, in 2011, the House of Representatives passed a resolution reaffirming ‘IN GOD WE TRUST’ as the official motto of the United States, by a vote of 396 to 9. A 2003 joint poll by USA Today, CNN and Gallup shows that 90% of Americans support the inscription ‘IN GOD WE TRUST’ on our coins.
Funny thing, I don’t recall our media covering these events. And our children are not being taught these truths in American education classrooms today. That’s because we in America are in a battle, and it’s not a military one but a cultural one. The battle is over whether we as a nation will continue to maintain a Judeo-Christian set of values or secular humanistic values. And the reason our children are not taught our nation’s motto ‘IN GOD WE TRUST’ is because our education system, as well as our entertainment industry, is based on a secular ideology. America’s very foundational value of a belief and reliance on the God of the Bible is being replaced by a secular reliance on self.
It is God, in Exodus chapter 20, who first introduced Himself to the nation of Israel as the One who gave them liberty from the bondage of Egypt, and then gives them their identity – the Ten Commandments. These ten become the source of their values as a distinct nation under the protection and leadership of Almighty God. It is the very same model upon which America was born – first liberty, then identity as a nation with the same set of values, the Ten Commandments. Today, as you enter the building which houses the U.S. Supreme Court, you can see near the top of the building a row of the world’s law givers. Each one is facing one in the middle who is facing forward with a full frontal view – it is Moses and he is holding the Ten Commandments.
As an American citizen, you are protected from the evil that seeks to destroy our nation by a reliance on God’s protection. But it is also God who has allowed you, as a free moral agent, to choose whether or not to continue relying on Him. As Edmund Burke once famously said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Will we stand by and allow our culture to replace a reliance on Him with a reliance on ourselves? God help us if we continue down that path.