A Voice of Reason on the ‘In God We Trust’ Bill Coming from an Unlikely Place…

On Monday, the House voted 396 – 9 in favor of “Reaffirming ‘In God We Trust’ as the official motto of the United States.” (Two Reps, Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Melvin Watt (D-NC), voted “Present.”)

Who were those 9 No votes?

Jerrold Nadler (D-NY)
Gary Ackerman (D-NY)
Judy Chu (D-CA)
Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO)
Mike Honda (D-CA)
Hank Johnson (D-GA)
Bobby Scott (D-VA)
Pete Stark (D-CA).

And…. Justin Amash (R-MI).

Not a typo. That’s really an “R” by his name.

Why did he vote no and buck the party line? He explained on his Facebook page:

The fear that unless “In God We Trust” is displayed throughout the government, Americans will somehow lose their faith in God, is a dim view of the profound religious convictions many citizens have. The faith that inspired many of the Founders of this country — the faith I practice — is stronger than that. Trying to score political points with unnecessary resolutions should not be Congress’s priority. I voted no.

Wow. Didn’t see that coming. I had to read that twice because I couldn’t believe how much sense it made. Why can’t that type of mindset spread throughout both parties…?

(via Joe. My. God.)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • Anonymous

    I’m torn because as a Democrat I hope someone runs ads against him saying he hates Jesus and America and all that is holy, but as a secularist and someone against pointless time-wasting resolutions, I support his stance.

    • Anonymous

      Well, to be honest, I think I would rather vote for a Republican who has gone out on a limb and proved that his faith is not influencing his politics than a Blue Dog.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2C6XFSMIUYAZUDZ4CWUWLV7CEY Josh Pearson

        Except that he is still anti-choice and approves of the “Hyde Amendment” which is vile.

        He still is an illogical ponce, even if he was right this one time.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    Justin seems to be a man of intelligence, principles and courage.

    Either he won’t last long in politics, or those qualities won’t last long in him. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=23430830 Matthew Shepherd

    Nice to see he’s left the McCarthy era behind.

  • Istj04

    This Congressman actually inadvertently articulated the “insecurity” theists have with regards to their “religious faith”, that in their minds “necessitates” bullshit resoultions like this one! Fortunately, its just a “resolution” (i.e. a THOUGHT!), that not even 100% of the House of Representatives voted on. For it to become an “official thought”, it still has to pass the Senate. Hopefully the Senate will take the position of Congressman Amash, and shelve this waste of time in “resolving” what people can believe in on their own!

  • Placibo Domingo

    I was going to send him an eamil saying “Good job!”, but the first thing on his website was about him cosponsoring some pro-life bill extending the Hyde ammendment to all government programs. Sigh…I guess he’s still a republican after all.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2C6XFSMIUYAZUDZ4CWUWLV7CEY Josh Pearson

      I was going to do the same thing, and reacted the same way.

      He’s just like the Bible, there are some decent things in there but it’s still wrong and still hateful.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/FDGYHBEWVNGUG763L5X4TON3JQ Nazani14

    The current motto is meaningless.  “With liberty and justice for all”  would be better.

    • Rich Wilson

      Especially if we actually HAD liberty and justice for all.

    • http://bit.ly/glUAR7 Calladus

      We should use the original motto – “Out of many, one”.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2C6XFSMIUYAZUDZ4CWUWLV7CEY Josh Pearson

        Rather, E Pluribus Unum.

  • Rich Wilson

    Ya, but.

    I was just about to tell Nancy Pelosi that I was going to be financially supporting Justin Amash in the next election, but thought I’d better check first.

    http://amash.house.gov/press-release/pro-life-bill-cosponsored-amash-passes-house

    So while I stick by my pledge to NOT support ANY candidate that won’t affirm that religion is not a requirement or guarantee of morality, that doesn’t mean I’m going to be supporting Amash either.  I appreciate him on this issue, and I’ve thanked him, but I still can’t support him.

    Edit: and further, he hasn’t disagreed with anything in the resolution, just that it’s pandering. Which it is, but he DID NOT sign the dissenting views http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CRPT-112hrpt47/pdf/CRPT-112hrpt47.pdf

    These are the ones really taking a stand for ALL the right reasons:
    JOHN CONYERS, JR.
    JERROLD NADLER.
    ROBERT C. ‘‘BOBBY’’ SCOTT.
    MELVIN L. WATT.
    JUDY CHU.
    (although not sure why Stark isn’t on that list)

  • Mike S

    Democrats can be as cynical and corrupt as any flavor of politician, but I find almost all modern Republicans  disingenuous, anti-family,  myopic, xenophobic, and greedy. This guy seems to have real values and willing to stand up for them. I would vote for him over any Democrat who just rolls along unthinkingly with questionable party crap.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve been wondering who the lone Republican nay vote was. I though it might be Ron Paul, since he does have principles (some reasonable and some batshit) and has shown to be willing to vote against his party.

    A good stand for Mr. Amash, and he deserves to be congratulated for it. Sadly, his zeal to make government small enough to fit inside your uterus makes it impossible for me to support him in any other way.

    • http://twitter.com/library_jim Jim Randolph

      Ron Paul is no friend of church/state separation, unfortunately.

    • Jeremiah

      Ron Paul wasn’t there for the vote, but he came out against it too. http://thehill.com/homenews/house/191711-ron-paul-i-oppose-in-god-we-trust-bill

  • Trace

    He is so toast!

  • Anonymous

    Amash is a bit of a dark horse in a way.   He has a history of voting against popular bills if he thinks there’s room for abuse of the law, such as being too vaguely worded. This fact was well-known before he was elected to the U.S. House.

  • http://twitter.com/enuma enuma

    One of the few passages in the Bible that I like seems to have been written about this sort of resolution.

    “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray
    standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men.
    I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.”

    Resolutions like this reduce Christianity to a cheap slogan (more like a cheap taunt/flaunting of privilege) and a photo op, yet this degradation of the faith is consistently met with thunderous applause.

  • Andrew Wilkens

    Emanuel Cleaver, of my hometown Kansas City, is actually a Methodist pastor. It’s always good to see a christian upholding the separation of church and state.

  • Miko

    In a 396-9 vote, there is no “party line.”  The Democrats are every bit as much our enemies as the Republicans are.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2C6XFSMIUYAZUDZ4CWUWLV7CEY Josh Pearson

      Yup. But the Democrats are not as bad, in totality, as the Republicans.

      Shit, they all voted for the Constitution-eating “Patriot Act”.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Anthony-Okafor/1759887752 Anthony Okafor

        that’s what you think

  • Anonymous

    It’s awesome to see Bobby Scott take the right side anyway. He is one of the few voices of reason in Virginia representatives.

  • Lee K

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/11/02/gop-rep-few-things-more-important-than-re-affirming-in-god-we-trust/

    Basically, this article says there are “Few things more important than re-affirming [the moto]“… I quit.  All 396 of them.  We’re going through crisis and they’re alienating nonChristians and calling that the most important thing they could have done with OUR time.

  • http://profiles.google.com/nathanlee2 nathan lee

    And he’s from Michigan! yay!. Shame I live just a few miles away from his district, or else I’d be pushing for him next time around.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/ChristopherTK ChristopherTK

    Do you live in the 11the District of Illinois where Adam Kinzinger serves?

    Please leave an honest and respectable explanation of your views and your displeasure with H.Con.Res. 13 at

    http://kinzinger.house.gov/index.cfm?sectionid=58

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/ChristopherTK ChristopherTK

      Actually, please write to your Congressman or Congresswoman regardless of where you live.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah,  Ain’t this just great…. as the Country slowly  disintegrates, our useless legislators are passing  Bills about our motto.  We should be changing our motto to:  ”In a Useless Congress We do not Trust!”

  • Dan W

    Well, I didn’t expect that from a Republican politician. Weird.

    I see the Democrat who represents my district voted in favor of this silly bill. *Le sigh*

  • Johann

    A clarification from Amash himself regarding his reasons:

    I find it remarkable how few people on both sides of the issue have a correct understanding of the resolution. Many in the media have done a great disservice to the public by inaccurately describing this vote as a vote for or against the motto “In God We Trust.”

    I did not vote against the motto. I did not vote against displaying the motto. That’s not what the resolution was about. I support the motto and I support displaying the motto on/in public buildings. If the resolution were simply about reaffirming “In God We Trust” as our national motto, then I would have voted yes.

    The resolution encouraged the display of the motto in ALL public buildings–federal, state, and local. I think this is an overreach, as it would include places like public utilities. In any case, the resolution is an unnecessary measure designed to score political points for Members of Congress. Even if it had failed, “In God We Trust” would still be our motto.

    So no, not really an ally to us on this even if he didn’t jump on the pandering bandwagon.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X