The U.S. Mint has announced that it will spend a year implementing a new requirement from Congress that instructs the motto “In God We Trust” be moved from the edge of the $1 coins to either the front or the back.
Congress has approved a consolidated spending bill, and President Bush signed it into law in just the past few days, that includes a provision for the motto to be placed on either the front or back of new coins in the series, which honor U.S. presidents and are scheduled now to run thru 2016.
The motto had been placed on the edge of the coins when the series was launched in 2007.
The U.S. Mint placed the “In God We Trust” motto on the edge of the $1 presidential coins, not on the face, triggering an outcry from Americans
“The United States Mint proudly produces the coins that Congress authorizes and will promptly take steps to make these changes,” Greg Hernandez, public affairs deputy director for the Mint, told WND. “This legislation directs the Secretary of the Treasury to move the inscription as soon as ‘practicable’ after enactment of the bill. The United States Mint plans to make this change beginning with the 2009 Presidential $1 Coins, which will coincide with the introduction of the first new Native American $1 Coins.”
He said designs for the 2008 coins already have been completed, “which is why the inscription will not be included on the obverse or reverse of the coins until 2009. It takes several weeks to produce each series of President $1 coins in order to meet Federal Reserve orders to put the coins into circulation.”
He said coin series still will have the date of issue, the mint mark and “E Pluribus Unum” on the edge. “Edge-lettering is an artistic feature on these coins that Congress has called ‘a hallmark of modern coinage,'” he said.
WND broke the story earlier when the coins were announced, showing how the acknowledgment to God was being hidden on the coins’ edges.
The first four coins, honoring George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and James Madison, were released during the course of 2007, with the motto on the edge, except some “error” coins that inadvertently were released by the Mint without the edge lettering. The 2008 series will honor James Monroe on Feb. 14, John Quincy Adams on May 15, Andrew Jackson on Aug. 14 and Martin Van Buren on Nov. 13, also will have the motto on the edge.
The Mint explained when the coins were introduced that it moved the motto from the face of the coins to the thin edge in order to allow for larger portraits of the presidents on the face and the Statue of Liberty on the reverse.
But the public outcry over the “disappearance” of “In God We Trust” proved to be too much for Congress, and a plan introduced by Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., and others made its way into the consolidated spending plan and was approved.
“Since the colonial beginnings of the United States, citizens of this nation have officially acknowledged their dependence on God,” said Brownback in a news statement reported by Baptist Press. “It is important that our national motto, ‘In God We Trust,’ is prominently displayed on all of our currency. We should not relegate our heritage to the side.”
The plan was proposed separately, but eventually was included as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008, approved by Congress and signed into law on Dec. 26 by President Bush.
The change “shall be put into effect by the Secretary of the Treasury as soon as is practicable after the date of enactment of this Act,” Congress instructed.
The U.S. Treasury Department said the motto first was put on U.S. coins during the increased awareness of the nation’s religious heritage during the Civil War. “Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase received many appeals from devout persons throughout the country, urging that the United States recognize the Deity on United States coins,” the agency’s website says.
One such comment was dispatched by M.R. Watkinson, a Ridleyville, Pa., minister in November 1861. “You are probably a Christian,” he wrote. “What if our Republican were not shattered beyond reconstruction? Would not the antiquaries of succeeding centuries rightly reason from our past that we were a heathen nation?”
“No nation can be strong except in the strength of God, or safe except in His defense,” Chase noted. “The trust of our people in God should be declared on our national coins.”
Two years later, Chase approved, “In God We Trust,” as the motto, which then appeared on 1864 coins of the two-cent denomination.
A self-proclaimed atheist, Michael Newdow, in 2005 challenged in court the inclusion of the motto, and appealed when a federal judge ruled against him. Those arguments recently were heard before an appeals court, but no decision has been delivered yet.
The new law specifically expresses the intent of Congress “to require the inscription ‘In God We Trust’ to appear on a face of the $1 coins honoring each of the Presidents of the United States.”
“In God We Trust” became the national motto by an act of Congress in 1956 and officially superseded “E Pluribus Unum,” Latin for “Out of Many, One.”