One of the minor brouhahas rattling around the fringes towards controversy is the trend by (primarily Bible Belt) police forces to put “In God We Trust” on their squad cars. And of course these actions are garnering complaints from the Freedom From Religion Foundation which is headquartered in Madison Wisconsin.
Now we know how I feel about the national motto…I think it should be retired…and replaced with “We The People”. And I certainly think it has no place on police cars or any other governmental vehicle or equipment. But quite frankly, as long as it is our nation’s motto, and no matter how much I empathize with their complaint, I don’t think the Freedom From Religion people are going to have a leg to stand on.
Well, the police chief from Childress, Texas, on Chief Adrian Garcia says:
Police Chief Adrian Garcia said he decided to add the decals in response to recent attacks on law enforcement personnel that have received broad attention, including the Aug. 28 killing of a sheriff’s deputy who was shot 15 times at a Houston-area gas station.
“I think with all the assaults happening on officers across the country … it’s time we get back to where we once were,” Garcia told the Red River Sun newspaper.
Well that would be back to 1956 when “In God We Trust” became the nation’s motto during the Eisenhower administration…a knew jerk reaction to ‘godless’ communism during the height of the cold war.
But it really is time that the motto was retired…it is on its own shaky ground constitutionally and will continue to draw fire.
Charles Haynes, vice president of the Religious Freedom Center of the Newseum Institute in Washington, D.C., explained that “In God We Trust” began appearing on federal coins in the Civil War era, and Congress in 1956 approved it as the national motto.
The foundation notes in its letter to Nichols that the history of the motto has “no secular purpose,” explaining that it was adopted during the Cold War as a reaction to the “godliness” (sic) of communism. It says the country’s original motto, E Pluribus Unum, was purely secular.
Haynes said pitched battles over religious phrases likely will increase as groups like Freedom From Religion become better funded and gain broader support.
“I think we’re going to see a growing number of fights over these symbolic references to god by government,” he said.
After Mr. Gorbachev brought down the wall, this motto should have gone to the dustbin as well.