‘In God we Trust’, this has been the national motto ever since 1956. This probably doesn’t surprise most of you as many of you grew up with this motto. Many might consider this to be a problem, after all, there are many Americans that don’t believe in God, to begin with, so why should our nation have a motto so clearly focused on Him.
There are a couple of reasons for this, even if you don’t believe in God. These defenses are what we will cover, as much smarter people have argued over religion in the past and were fruitless endeavor. As such we’ll cover the reasons outside of religion itself.
One of the biggest reasons is that regardless of your personal beliefs America was founded by people who believed in God, they worshipped him and built America on many of the principles of Christianity, things like freedom, charity, justice, mercy, and the likes. And while it is true that these principles aren’t unique to Christianity, all of them were built in by the Founding Fathers because of their beliefs in it. As such, at the very least, it is rooted in our culture and the foundation of our nation. The reason why many pilgrims left to come to America was so they could worship God in the way they saw fit. This is what drove America’s beginning and what brought the nation together in its early phases.
Going along with the cultural aspects, there is also the ideals of America and that of Christianity. I’ve mentioned these earlier, but from the beginning of America even to this day, the things America has strived for have shared many similarities with Christianity as a whole. Take the Statue of Liberty and what is written on it, “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” This is what, for many years greeted immigrants as they entered New York harbor. It embodies much of the American dream, the fact that America was built by immigrants from all over the world and giving them a place to be free. It doesn’t offer a life of luxury, or of every want being given, it offers a home and a place to grow and learn.
Compare this to Mathew 11:28-29, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Do you notice any similarities? Likely so as this is ultimately what much of Christianity strives for, finding peace and rest for the soul. Not freedom from work but the freedom to work.
Now, this isn’t to say that to have these ideals you have to be Christian. You can still stand for everything written in the Constitution and Statue of Liberty and not believe in God. But it is still important to know where these values originated and why America has them to begin with. And even if you never believe in God or Christianity, the words ‘In God we trust’ still holds meaning. It serves as a reminder of what values we stand for and where we gained those values because these values shouldn’t just be Christian values, they should be the values of every person who wants to make the world a better place.
And sure, you might not have the same ethical code as every Christian religion, you might belong to another that believes in a different code, or maybe you don’t believe in any religion. Regardless we can work together to make the world a better place. Not all of the Founding Fathers believed in the same thing. Many of them argued and fought with each other for this reason. And yet, at the end of the day, they came together and built America. If nothing else, the words ‘In God we trust’, should serve as a reminder of this and the fact we don’t stand as the States of America, we stand united as the United States of America.