Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet;
but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God
(Philippians 3:13-14 NASB)
In God We Trust
April 6, 2009
As I was writing the series on the hammer of the Lord, the US national motto of “In God we trust”
came to my mind, and I began to ponder its significance.
At the outset, I must make it clear that I realize there has been and continues to be controversy over the
use of the word God in relation to the governance of the United States. To some, the use of the word is
very spiritual or religious; to others, it is an offense; and to others, especially the courts, its use is what
is referred to as “ ceremonial deism ,” which means the word God is simply ceremonial in its use and
has no real religious meaning. Further, God exists and created the world; nevertheless, He has not
assumed any control over it or the lives of people.
Frankly, I don’t really care about all the controversy over the word God from man’s perspective. What I
am more interested in is God’s perspective. Regardless of what anyone thinks to the contrary,
there is only one God who rules over the realm of mankind (Daniel 4:25, 32); just ask Nebuchadnezzar
what he thinks of the matter. This poses the question: How does God look upon a nation with a
motto “In God we trust”? What does He expect of such a nation?
What does God expect of a nation that, according to a 2006 study, has 68 references to “God” in its
legislation? Of the 68, 46 are references to “acts of God”; however, the other 22 are more explicit
affirmations of the positive role of God in the country.
What does God expect of a nation that, by legislation in 1954, added the words “Under God” to their
Pledge of Allegiance? The congressional house committee that recommended passage of the legislation
found: “Our American Government is founded on the concept of the individuality and the
dignity of the human being. Underlying this concept is the belief that the human person
is important because he was created by God and endowed by Him with certain
inalienable rights which no civil authority may usurp. The inclusion of God in our Pledge
therefore would further acknowledge the dependence of our people and our Government
upon the moral directions of the Creator .” This doesn’t sound like deism to me.
What does God expect of a nation that has the phrase “In God we trust” in the Star-Spangled Banner,
which was written in 1814 by Francis Scott Key and later became the national anthem?
What does God expect of a nation that, based on appeals by Christians during the American Civil War,
legislated that the phrase “In God we trust” be printed on some of its coins, and then 91 years later, on
July 11, 1956, required the phrase to be printed on all its coins and paper currency? Personally, I could
do without the motto being on our money, especially in this day of materialism and consumerism and a
day in which there is much love of money. As an interesting side note, in presenting the original bill to
Congress, Representative Charles Bennett of Florida stated: “In these days when imperialistic
and materialistic communism seeks to attack and destroy freedom, we should
continuously look for ways to strengthen the foundations of our freedom. At the base of
our freedom is our faith in God and the desire of Americans to live by His will and His
guidance . As long as this country trusts in God, it will prevail.”
What does God expect of a nation whose president, Dwight D. Eisenhower, on July 30, 1956, signed the
law making “In God we Trust” the official national motto of the United States? 36 USC Sec 302 simply
reads: “In God we trust” is the national motto .
More light is given on the genesis of the national motto in a statement by the Judiciary Committee that
recommended passage of H.J. Res. 396 as recorded in the 1956 Congressional Record.
“At the present time, the United States has no national motto. The committee deems it most
appropriate that “In God we trust” be so designated as our national motto. The phrase “In God we
trust” has received official recognition for many years. It was authorized to be placed on certain coins
by the act of March 3, 1865 (13 Stat. 518). Further permissive authorization for inscribing “In God we
trust” on coins was given in the Coinage Act of February 12, 1873 (17 Stat. 427). The first mandatory
requirement for the use of this motto on certain coins was in the act of May 18, 1908 (35 Stat. 164).
Last year, Public Law 140 was enacted by the Congress making the use of “In God we trust”
mandatory on all currency and coins of the United States. Further official recognition of this motto
was given by the adoption of the Star-Spangled Banner as our national anthem. One stanza of our
national anthem is as follows:
“O, thus be it ever when free men shall stand
Between their lov’d home and the war's desolation!
Blest with vic’try and peace may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto-‘In God is our trust.’
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
In view of these words in our national anthem, it is clear that “In God we trust” has a strong claim as
our national motto. It will be of great spiritual and psychological value to our country to have a
clearly designated national motto of inspirational quality in plain, popular accepted English. … The
committee considers “In God we trust” a superior and more acceptable motto for the United States.”
Whether the so-called atheists, the ACLU, or, even perhaps, some religionists do not want any acknowl-
edgement of God in the governance (rule) of the United States, it is quite apparent that there is a
preponderance of support and historical evidence that, in fact, God does rule and is even expected to
rule in some measure, even if it is to save us from disasters and the like, or to bless us, as in “God bless
America,” which means to turn us from our wicked ways. So, whether we mean it or not, or whether we
expect it or not, we, as Americans, are imploring God every day to be part of our lives in some measure
and are declaring that we trust Him. We are declaring that we are in His kingdom and we
submit to His sovereignty over our nation! Are we to think that this goes unnoticed by God? Are
we to think that He shakes His head and says that we do not mean it so He will ignore it? Well, even a
cursory read of the Bible reveals that God is not an absent landlord and that He takes the word of
people very seriously. He listens to our words and then He reads our hearts. More times than not, the
two are in opposition. Are we to expect God to ignore this disparity? Do we think that, as a nation, we
can fool God? Do our leaders, both of government and of the church-at-large, think they can get away
ith hypocrisy; that God is going to ignore it forever? It is time to wake up and repent!
(24) The God who made the world and all things in it …. (26) and He made from one man
every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their
appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, (27) that they would seek God, if
perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of
us; (28) for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said,
‘For we also are His children.’ … (30) Therefore having overlooked the times of
ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, (31)
because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a
Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the
ead.” (Acts 17:24a, 26-28, 30-31 NASB)
Herein lies the answer for all nations. As for the United States, which has a large Christian population,
we do not have an unknown God. It is time to match our words with our hearts. It is time to be one
nation under one God, a nation that puts its trust in God, a nation that repents, and a nation that
declares that Jesus is Lord and King. In judgment, let us declare: In God we Trust!
The Upward Call: #03-0954
by: Stuart H. Pouliot
With these questions, I am reminded of Paul’s great speech on Mars Hill in Athens, Greece. He had seen
an altar with the inscription “To an unknown God,” and he responded accordingly. Read his entire
ermon as recorded in Acts 17:22-31. However, consider some excerpts.