This week, we celebrate the Golden Anniversary of our national motto, “In God We Trust.” And while most Americans appreciate the fact that our nation was founded by men who desired to honor the Almighty in their pursuit of national liberty, there are those who wish to completely stifle religious expression – even the most harmless forms, such as our national motto – in the name of diversity.
Thankfully, we have a president who understands our history and the importance of national recognition of God. President Bush, in a proclamation this week, said: “From its earliest days, the United States has been a Nation of faith. During the War of 1812, as the morning light revealed that the battle-torn American flag still flew above Fort McHenry, Francis Scott Key penned, ‘And this be our motto: “In God is our trust!”‘”
He noted how, on July 30, 1956, President Dwight Eisenhower signed the law officially establishing “In God We Trust” as America’s national motto.
“Today, our country stands strong as a beacon of religious freedom,” the president stated. “Our citizens, whatever their faith or background, worship freely, and millions answer the universal call to love their neighbor and serve a cause greater than self.”
Further, in Columbus, Ohio, Gov. Bob Taft has signed into law a bill requiring all public and community schools to display any donated copies of the national motto and the state motto, “With God, All Things Are Possible.”
The bill requires public schools and charter schools using state money to display copies of the mottos if they are donated for use in a classroom, auditorium or cafeteria.
The ACLU-types will cry foul at such displays, but they refuse to look back in our nation’s history – not so long ago – when schools across the nation embraced these types of mottos, in addition to the Pledge of Allegiance. We all know that, at that time in our nation’s history, our schools were noticeably more productive and less violent. But that doesn’t seem to matter.
In Ohio, both mottos have faced and withstood court challenges by individuals who claimed that the use of phrases employing references to God are violations of the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution.
Anita Staver, president of Liberty Counsel, says that, if challenged, it is unlikely that the Ohio law will be found unconstitutional, especially when appeals courts are now regularly upholding public displays of the Ten Commandments.
She points out that three federal courts of appeal have upheld displays of the Ten Commandments in public buildings in the past year, including the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, which governs Ohio. That court also upheld, in ACLU of Kentucky v. Mercer County, the Foundations of American Law and Government display, which Liberty Counsel defended. And in Elkhart County, Indiana v. Books, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the same Ten Commandments display, which Liberty Counsel defended. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals also upheld a stand-alone Ten Commandments monument.
Mrs. Staver said, “Public displays of our national motto, ‘In God We Trust,’ and state mottos with religious themes are constitutional. Acknowledgement of our religious heritage is not an establishment of religion. Patriotism should be encouraged in schools, and part of patriotism is learning about this great nation, including our national motto.”
It is time for Americans who love the historic Judeo-Christian values of our nation to stand strong and to insist that our traditions continue to be recognized when challenged by a few vocal opponents who want to repress our religious freedoms. There is no need to be apprehensive. History is one our side and so are the courts, quite frequently.
This is a nation founded in religious freedom. Those who love those freedoms must work together to ensure they remain for future generations.
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