‘In God We Trust’ overwhelmingly reaffirmed in House

Published 11:02 am Saturday, November 5, 2011

I am happy to share with you that this week the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to reaffirm our national motto, “In God We Trust.”

This reaffirmation offers optimism during tumultuous times.

It provides clarity amidst a cloud of confusion about our nation’s spiritual heritage and offers inspiration to an American people that face challenges of historic proportion.

I gave remarks during debate of the resolution on the House floor.

As we reaffirmed the national motto, we joined the ranks of leaders throughout American history. Here is a look at the ways the national motto has been a guiding principle since our nation’s inception:

* At our nation’s founding. Authors penned the Declaration of Independence writing, “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

* In nation’s infancy. Francis Scott Key wrote the poem that would become our national anthem the Star Spangled Banner containing the stanza, “And this be our motto — ‘In God is our trust.’”

* In the midst of Civil War. President Lincoln addressing a war torn, weary, and divided nation, saying at the Gettysburg address, “this Nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

* During the economic expansion of America’s industrialization. Congresses passed the Coinage Act stating that the Secretary of the Treasury “may cause the motto ‘In God We Trust’ to be inscribed on such coins as shall admit of such motto.”

* World War I. In his speech before Congress asking for a declaration of war, President Wilson said “…The day has come when America is privileged to spend her blood and her might for the principles that gave her birth and happiness and the peace which she has treasured. God helping her, she can do no other.”

* After nearly a decade of Great Depression. President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued a Thanksgiving proclamation saying, “Thus from our earliest recorded history, Americans have thanked God for their blessings. In our deepest natures, in our very souls, we, like all mankind since the earliest origin of mankind, turn to God in time of trouble and in time of happiness. In God We Trust.”

* At D-Day facing Nazi advances on Europe. In his famous radio address, President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Americans to join him in praying, “Help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice… As we rise to each new day, and again when each day is spent, let words of prayer be on our lips, invoking Thy help to our effort.”

* During the Baby Boom. “In God We Trust” was inscribed above the south entrance door in the Senate chamber during the 1949-1951 reconstruction.

* Cold War and Economic Prosperity. In a speech given during the Cold War, President John F. Kennedy said, “Today our Nation is passing through another time of trial… We will need to draw upon the best that this Nation has — often — and draw upon it physically and intellectually and materially. But we need also to call upon our great reservoir of spiritual resources… The guiding principle and prayer of this Nation has been, is now, and ever shall be ‘In God We Trust.’”

* Civil Rights Movement. Two years after Brown vs. Board of Education and one year after Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a public bus, ‘In God We Trust’ was adopted as the official national motto of the United States.

* Vietnam War. In the midst of the Vietnam War, President Lyndon Johnson said, “Not long ago I received a letter one morning from a mother whose son had been killed in Vietnam. She wrote to me saying, ‘…As long as we believe, our strength is in our faith in God and He will never fail us.’ So, my countrymen, in those words from that dear mother are to be found the greatness of this Nation and also the strength of its President.”

n Present day. On the night of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, President George W. Bush delivered a speech to the nation saying, “Tonight, I ask for your prayers for all those who grieve, for the children whose worlds have been shattered, for all whose sense of safety and security has been threatened. And I pray they will be comforted by a power greater than any of us, spoken through the ages in Psalm 23: ‘Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me.’”

RANDY FORBES, R-Va., represents Western Tidewater in the U.S. House of Representatives. His email address is randy.forbes@mail.house.gov.