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Anthony "Tony" Arndt [userpic]

In God We Trust?

January 19th, 2009 (06:23 pm)

No. Not really. Convince me that the god of Abraham is real and there's no way I'd trust him.

MSNBC is running an online poll here:

"E Pluribus Unum", while recognized only by and act of Congress and not an actual law, was the de facto motto of the United States from 1782 to 1956 when "In God We Trust" was adopted by another act of Congress as explicitly anti-communist propaganda.

"In God We Trust" was used on some coinage going back to 1864 but was always controversial, even among devout Christians, Theodore Roosevelt is thought to have considered it sacrilegious.

Many Americans object to the obviously religious and unconstitutional motto. When not traveling abroad and having to change money, many choose to redact the motto from their currency. I prefer the simplicity of a single line from a black marker. I've been doing it for years. While in Russia, I saw an interview or video post from Penn Jillette where he mentioned that he does it too.

Some people believe it to be illegal, which is untrue. It's only illegal to deface currency in an attempt to defraud (that is, change the denomination). However, I know people have been hassled for doing it in public. Jordsvin, a fairly well known American Heathen writer, has a friend who was arrested by someone who claimed to be an off-duty Sheriff's Deputy. Who was working as a barrista at a coffee shop? I sense a volunteer reservist.


Posted by: Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith)
Posted at: January 20th, 2009 01:12 am (UTC)

I share your attitude that God is not to be trusted.

Posted by: Janitor of Lunacy (wodurid)
Posted at: January 20th, 2009 02:21 am (UTC)

"An infinite God ought to be able to protect Himself, without going in partnership with State Legislatures."
~ Robert Ingersoll

Posted by: Cobalt-Blue (coba1t_blue)
Posted at: January 20th, 2009 03:36 am (UTC)

Although I tend to agree with you that Yahweh is not to be trusted. However you are wrong about the idea that it is unconstitutional. The term separation of church and state appear nowhere in the constitution. Being as Congress is not establishing a religion, only recognizing the belief in the existence of deity(ies) it's not unconstitutional.

However, I tend to put an "s" at the end of the term when I have to use it or "one nation under Gods" and be done with it.

Posted by: Janitor of Lunacy (wodurid)
Posted at: January 20th, 2009 04:35 am (UTC)
Tali-ban it

Although our ‘god-fearing' Supreme Court has thus far, erroneously ruled otherwise, the motto is a blatant federal endorsement of the religious belief in "God" --- defacto, as understood in common parlance, the Judeo-Christian deity. How, *pray you*, is this NOT a violation of the establishment clause?

Moreover, going and putting an God "s" at the end of the motto is total crap because it still federally espouses that citizens should or even MUST have a religious belief system.

Posted by: Cobalt-Blue (coba1t_blue)
Posted at: January 20th, 2009 04:47 am (UTC)
Re: Tali-ban it

Explain to me where in the Constitution there is a separation of religion and the government? Religion is supposed to be neutral toward religion neither endorsing it or the lack of it.

I put the s at the end of God because I worship more than one.

Posted by: nomaddervish (nomaddervish)
Posted at: January 20th, 2009 09:46 am (UTC)
Re: Tali-ban it

Yes, exactly. How is asserting the existence of one or more god(s) "be[ing] neutral toward religion neither endorsing it or the lack of it"?

Posted by: PAAAAAASTIIIIICHE! (boy_pastiche)
Posted at: January 20th, 2009 04:16 am (UTC)
stop judging

I am a Christian. I do think all these stupid God this God that things on currency, in the pledge, are unconscionable. No one religion (or having one versus not) should be set above another.

I'm also a Queer, activist, Socialist etc. I may not represent the mainstream, but I believe that mainstream != automatic truth

Posted by: iddewes (iddewes)
Posted at: January 20th, 2009 09:04 am (UTC)
artwork me

I'm surprised the Obmyen Valyut in Russia actually accepted dollar bills with writing on them!
What does E Pluribus Unum actually mean? Just curious!
It's interesting about the source of the IN God we trust business...I had no idea it was adopted so recently.

Posted by: Anthony "Tony" Arndt (anthony_arndt)
Posted at: January 20th, 2009 09:33 am (UTC)

They might not, so I didn't do it with the $100s when in Russia. Just the small change that I used back in the US. If it's money I use in the US, then I do it on all bills.

Posted by: Anthony "Tony" Arndt (anthony_arndt)
Posted at: January 20th, 2009 09:52 am (UTC)

And "E Pluribus Unum" means "From Many, One"

The 10 Commandment Monuments have a similar shit-stirring history. The majority are also recent and while the organizing and local installations were organized by local Eagles lodges (an American Fraternal society), they got their start though the encouragement (and money) of the movie industry. Care to guess what Charleton Heston movie came out about that time?

Posted by: iddewes (iddewes)
Posted at: January 20th, 2009 09:06 am (UTC)
artwork me

...however, just wondering why 'God' has to represent the Abrahamic God? He doesn't! :P God could be any old God...;)

Posted by: Anthony "Tony" Arndt (anthony_arndt)
Posted at: January 20th, 2009 09:47 am (UTC)

Except that it's only in Christianity (and perhaps some English-speaking sects of Islam?) where "God" is used. In my experience it's not even common in Judaism (unless it's gotten more liberal), when I was hanging out with more Jewish friends, they'd always wright G_d or some other cypher. In other religions, god is a noun not a Name. "God" explicitly refers to the Christian god, "god" could refer to anyone.

And when the new motto was adopted, it was explicitly stated to refer to the Christian god. To claim otherwise is being dishonest. I prefer to not deceive myself.

Posted by: iddewes (iddewes)
Posted at: January 20th, 2009 11:10 pm (UTC)
jewish bottle dancers

Oh the G-d thing! :) Well I have been told that is something that the more traditional and observant Jews do and Progressive Jews have a bit of a THING about it (ie they go so far as to give people a hard time for writing God like that!). Our maternity leave Rabbi Cliff, who was something of a character anyway, reckoned God could just be any old god and so why did it matter if you put the o in or not? It is not the Jewish name of God. The REAL name of the Jewish god is the Tetragrammaton which no one says or writes (except in the Bible or sacred texts). The Frum usually refer to God as 'HaShem' (the Name)when they're talking.
Progressives usually just say 'God' but pronounce the Tetragrammaton 'Adonai' in prayers and stuff. And there's also Shekhinah the holy (feminine) spirit! so...there's a few different ones.
So there you go. Not that you probably wanted to know all that. ;)

Posted by: snowcalla (snowcalla)
Posted at: January 20th, 2009 04:02 pm (UTC)

"E Pluribus Unum" and "In God We Trust" are BOTH mottos of the United States.

In 1956 a law was passed stating that "the national motto of the United States is hereby declared to be 'In God we trust'." (70 Stat. 732. 36 U.S. Code 186). The House Judiciary Committee recognized that the phrase "E Pluribus Unum" had also received wide usage in the United States, and the joint resolution did not repeal or prohibit its use as a national motto. The Congress has used both.

Money gets "In God We Trust" since it was the Department of Treasury that pushed for the phrase and the Seal of the United States (which is much more important) keeps "E Pluribus Unum".

Posted by: Gareth (jhirat_dai)
Posted at: January 20th, 2009 08:14 pm (UTC)

I went off this lunchtime and had a quick wiki at UK currency, just for gits and shiggles, and I can smugly report that our notes and coinage seem totally devoid of references to The Big Guy Upstairs, although there is a line of latin on the edge of a quid coin that loosely translates to 'no-one fucks with us and gets away with it', which I found mildly amusing.

I am a Christian, and I'm almost positive that most (non-nutjob) Christians would agree with me when I say I couldn't give two hoots what the mint chooses to plaster over our currency. What I would like to see is messages such as 'Did you know this would feed a family of four for an entire month in Darfur?' printed on high denomination notes and 'Can you remember when this would've bought you a gobstopper?' on pennies.


Posted by: Marion (weofodthignen)
Posted at: February 3rd, 2009 02:24 am (UTC)

"fid. def." stands for "Fidei Defensor," "Defender of the Faith," since the Sovereign is Head of the Church. So there it is, it's just in Latin.

The thing is, though the UK has made great strides towards religious pluralism since I left 30 years ago, it still has a state religion. The US Constitution--despite coba1t_blue's disingenuousness above--explicitly forbids endorsement of a particular religion, and since one god is a central tenet of some religions and not others--and moreover it was apparently explicitly defined as a Xian statement when the phrase was adopted--that is a violation. Only devotes of that particular god who regard his 3 religions (or one) as the only viable choice can say otherwise. Like the shits who have hijacked the US.

expat Brit

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