The words “In God We Trust” have been placed in prominent display on U.S. coinage since 1864, until a new $1 coin series honoring U.S. presidents was introduced at the beginning of 2007, when the motto was concealed on the edge. But no more.
Congress has approved a consolidated spending bill, and President Bush has signed it into law, that includes a provision for the motto to be placed on either the front or back of new coins in the series.
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
WND broke the story earlier when the coins were announced, showing how the acknowledgment to God was hidden on the coins’ edges.
Now a report from Coin News confirms that the new provision was signed into law on Dec. 26, and the U.S. Mint has been instructed to begin placing the motto in a prominent location on the coins “as soon as is practicable.”
Whether the change will affect the series of coins already on track for 2008 or not remains to be seen. The Mint has announced the James Monroe dollar coin will be issued on Feb. 14, the John Quincy Adams coin on May 15, Andrew Jackson on Aug. 14 and Martin Van Buren on Nov. 13.
“The Mint is launching the 2008 dollar coins using their news contacts and presence to push the story while silently telling everyone, apparently, that the motto relocation will not go into [effect] until at least 2009,” according to the Coin News report.
Already in circulation from the 2007 release schedule are coins honoring George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and James Madison. Mint officials say they produced more than 768 million of those coins.
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” raised concerns in Congress, and a plan introduced by Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., and others made its way into the consolidated spending plan and was approved.
The Mint described the change as an “edge-incused inscription” on the coins that otherwise are the same size, weight and metal composition as the Sacagawea Golden Dollar.
There also arose issues with the edge inscriptions when some coins were released without them, creating “error” coins sought by collectors. Conservatives publicly expressed concern the move to the edge was just the first step in removing the motto from currency entirely.
It was just too much for Congress.
The 2008 coins are scheduled to be released at three-month intervals
“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.”
The bill also creates six new quarters to be released during 2009, after completion of the 50-coin series honoring states of the union, and they will recognize the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the United States Virgin Islands and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
The presidential coin series is scheduled to be released four per year, Each president will appear on only one coin, except for Grover Cleveland, who will be on two because he was the only president to serve non-consecutive terms.
To be depicted on a coin, a president must have been dead for at least two years, so the conclusion of the series remains uncertain.
“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.”
The most common place where the motto is observed in daily life is on U.S. currency and coinage. It wasn’t until 1957 that the motto was permanently adopted for use on U.S. money.