QUESTION: I was wondering some of your thoughts on “God” and “The Creator” throughout US history? Is “In God We Trust” really a statement that if our most basic rights such as speech are not licensed by a government, then they are natural and thus come from God? Thus cannot be denied through evidence otherwise? What are the legal extents? Also, besides tradition, what are the significances of using the Bible during congressional swear-ins and testimonies? …
ANSWER: The origin of the motto “In God We Trust” dates back to 1864 and it was proposed by Samuel Chase, Secretary of the Treasury at that time. It first appeared in the 2 cents coin in 1864. After the Civil War, it then appears on the silver coinage from 25 cents to $1. It also appeared on the 5 cent coins in 1866, which were of a similar design to the 2 cent coinage. It never appeared on the penny which was reduced in size during the Panic of 1857. While it became the official motto of the U.S. state of Florida, it was not adopted as the nation’s motto until 1956 as a replacement/alternative to the unofficial motto of E pluribus unum (from many, one), which was adopted when the Great Seal of the United States was created and adopted in 1782. President Dwight Eisenhower on July 30, 1956, declared “In God We Trust” must appear on American currency. This phrase was first used on paper money in 1957 when it appeared on the one-dollar silver certificate. The first paper currency bearing the phrase entered circulation on October 1, 1957.
Simply because we have this motto on our currency does not mean that it guides Washington at all. Some have argued that the Roman architecture and the Egyptian style obelisk for the Washington Monument are somehow signs of a deeper cult at work. That is a stretch. There is, of course, the Thomas Jefferson Bible which he composed excluding Jesus as God, but more as a philosopher.
The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth, is what has been referred to as the Jefferson Bible. Jefferson wrote one of two religious works. First, Jefferson wrote The Philosophy of Jesus of Nazareth,