Those who don't know history (or their own Bible) ...

i-025e1d834f775066617f927dc152c314-Greenback_front.jpg
i-aff9b5cfca97906cd57d6694f391dad1-Greenback_back.jpgThe whining about where the new dollar coins will contain the word "God" is too silly for words. Consider the opening sentences of a letter in today's Journal World:

I would like to know whose stupid idea it was to take "In God We Trust" off our new dollar coins.

Yes, it is still on there, but why bother?

Following those two contradictory statements, the letter proceeds with falsehoods and historical illiteracy:

You can no longer see it unless one happens to look on the edge of the coin, which eventually wears off and becomes smooth. Then you won't be able to see it at all.

This nation was built under "One God," and as far as I know "In God We Trust" has always been on our currency. Why change it now? Because some liberal is offended.

As the letter-writer notes, the coins still say that. No one took it off. This conspiracy-mongering is absurd. As shown in the figures here, the original dollar notes did not say anything about God.

I keep hearing about freedom of speech. But what about my freedom? I say it's time we quit getting our rights taken away and be heard.

Says the person who had the complete freedom to complain about this fictional problem publicly, and to rail against the government at will. No freedom was taken away. If Dot Beckner wants to carve "In Buddha God we Trust" on every new coin, that's her freedom also. (Assuming she doesn't do so "fraudulently," 18 USC 331).

They have taken the Pledge of Allegiance and prayer out of our schools. What next? Are they going to make us close our churches and pray in the dark corners of our basement, not to be seen or heard?

Bear in mind that the Pledge is still in schools, just as the coins still have the word "God" on them.

Some day all people who are responsible for these changes will have to face the "one and only God." What will you have to say about your freedom of speech then? Because "my God" will have something to say to you.

Indeed, assuming Dot's God is the Christian God worshipped (at least in principle) by a majority of Americans, her God already did speak about it. Casting the money-changers out from the temple was pretty subtle, but Jesus clarified that point later. The Pharisees asked:

"Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?"

But Jesus, aware of their malice [they were the original concern trolls], said "Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the money for the tax." And they brought him a coin. And Jesus said to them, "Whose likeness and inscription is on this?" They said "Caesar's." Then he said to them, "Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's."

Later, since people seemed not to be getting his point that God doesn't really care that much about cash, he put it in simpler terms:

Woe to you, blind guides, who say, "If any one swears by the temple, it is nothing; but if any one swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath." You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that made the gold sacred?

Jesus doesn't want your money. And he certainly doesn't want you to act so sanctimonious about it. He continued:

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law, justice and mercy and faith; these you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel! ...

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are like white-washed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. So you outwardly appear righteous to men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

God doesn't need your money, and doesn't need you prancing around telling others what to do. Jesus spent a great deal of time and effort preaching a relatively simple message: We are all imperfect, we can all improve ourselves; it isn't our job to judge others, but to love them and make good examples of ourselves. This is excellent advice whatever you think of Christian theology in general.

More like this

It’s the end of the semester here. Classes ended last week and that leaves me with some final exams and papers to get graded before the end of this week. I’ve also got a talk (on ID) to prepare for Friday. All good. Via PZ, I give you the Beatitudes for Teachers: Then Jesus took his disciples up on…
We're in a war, we're looking at a looming mortgage crisis, and I can tell you that our educational system is getting flushed down the tubes, and what does our brave congress do? Why, it decides to make the words "In God We Trust" bigger on our coins. Responding to complaints from the Religious…
We're worried about the current financial crisis — in fact, the whole world is concerned. Most of us have simple explanations for the mess we're in right now, such as excessive deregulation, lenders raking in short term profit at the expense of long term stability, a weakening economy, and the…
There's a documentary coming out about how the Mormons influenced California's Proposition 8, and Salon has an interview with the director, Reed Cowan. He makes the point that it wasn't just that they raised buckets of money, but that they had willing volunteers. Nobody does it better than the…

If Christ doesn't want our money, why does Jerry Johnston of First Family Church take so much of it from his parishioners to buy multiple SUVs, McMansions for his family, and extravagant clothing?

*******************************
Prayer was never taken out of schools. Students can still pray anywhere, anytime, as long as they're not disruptive. (Christ Himself pointed out that it's the Pharisees who cry out their prayers on the street corners, and that He will hear the prayers of those who go into a closet to pray.)

Teachers/administrators can't organize or lead prayers in school . . . but since when have students depended on teachers/admins to lead them in something the students wanted to do anyway?

Not all coins had "In God We Trust" on them till 1938. As for paper currency, not all of it had the motto till 1968. The Christian-fascist woman just doesn't know her history.

By Clyde James (not verified) on 14 Mar 2007 #permalink

Agreed.

Some poor slob goofs at the US mint, so the Dominionist wingnuts declare a Jihad. You're right to point out this is just another excuse for them to preach their revisionist American history. Reminds me of the nonexistent "War on Christmas".

Personally, I think the government printing "In God We Trust" is unconstitutional. It tends to institutionalize theism. And then the question arises, "Which God?" Even if you narrow it down to the Christian God, there are many different interpretations of "God" within Christianity. To some, God is a loving father; to others, a vengeful punisher. To the Deists among the Founders, God was a creator who set everything in motion, then let it unfold on its own from there. So who is it, exactly, that we're trusting?

I don't imagine constitutionality bothers the U.S. government, particularly the current crew in the White House. Whatever "the people" (90% of whom are Christians) want is A-OK with our elected officials.

I assume this was written with the concept that the Federal Reserve Notes were printed by "the government" which it is NOT. Federal Reserve is a private bank, and you might want to mention that Presidents from Lincoln to Jackson both opposed the centralized bank idea.

The so-called "motto" of "In God We Trust" was added -- like the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance -- to distinguish our supposedly enlightened nation from that of the hated Soviets. The intent of both references to a psuedo-Christian god was to show that our nation was not just a gaggle of evil communists, but a People united by a common Faith, whatever that might have been (as an aside, the US dollar was becoming increasingly worthless at this period, so the government probably assumed that people needed to have faith in something other than gold and silver... why not a 'god?').

So, when all is said and done, the references to a "god" are not motivated by any idealogical or religious convictions, but are merely a political expediency to make the American People feel 'better' than our then-archnemesis, the USSR.

In closing, a final note: Andrew Jackson, however you might feel about his abilities as President (Jefferson, for one, was not impressed), was a bit of a demagogue. He firmly supported the concept (stress, concept) of a central bank, but when he was elected President, he found the Bank of the United States in the process of debauching the US dollar, and creating a massive, inflationary real estate boom. He wisely reconsidered his earlier position and pulled the plug, as it were, on the Bank, thereby saving the US dollar for another seventy years or so.

By Lux Lucis (not verified) on 16 Mar 2007 #permalink

This "In God We Trust" on the coins as a result of communism/USSR is apparently quite a popular "urban legend" (or some sort socialist/communist-induced propaganda akin to the lies stating that Pope Pius XII aided the Nazis but that is a different topic, same problem). "In God We Trust" was NOT invented as a response to the USSR!!! How can I prove this? Well, for one thing this motto first appeared on a US coin in 1864 on the US 2 cent coin. It was added due to increased religious sentiment in America due to the trials and tribulations of the Civil War (compare/contrast that war with roughly 3.6 million soldiers dead to the remote "conflicts" in Iraq and Afghanistan of a generally comparable duration) . It was later placed on the Lincoln cent in 1909 and the Mercury dime in 1916. This is before the 1917 Russian Revolution during which the Bolsheviks gained power (the USSR did not come into existence until 1922). Please get the facts straight before simply repeating what you hear others say (remember "Iraq has weapons of mass destruction?"). And also for those of you who merely label others as a "poor slob", "Christian-fascist" or "Dominionist wingnuts" instead of making valid arguments, it is quite easy to see through something with no substance. It is disturbing to see so little thought behind the majority of the comments posted here.