Who Needs ‘In God We Trust’?

In case you missed it on Friday, Michael Shermer had an op-ed piece in the LA Times, arguing against “In God We Trust” as our national motto:

It’s time to drop the God talk and face reality with a steely-eyed visage of the modern understanding of the origin of freedom on which the United States was founded and continues to be secured. God has nothing to do with it. If you want freedom and security, you need the following:

The rule of law; property rights; a secure and trustworthy banking and monetary system; economic stability; a reliable infrastructure and the freedom to move about the country; freedom of the press; freedom of association; education for the masses; protection of civil liberties; a clean and safe environment; a robust military for protection of our liberties from attacks by other states; a potent police force for protection of our freedoms from attacks by people within the state; a viable legislative system for establishing fair and just laws; and an effective judicial system for the equitable enforcement of those fair and just laws.

Shermer states the obvious when he says God doesn’t need to be anywhere on that list.

I’d bet good money that most Christians who support the current motto have no idea why it’s our motto, when it became our motto, or what it even means.

For that last one, here’s a hint: It’s a platitude that means absolutely nothing but it makes Christians feel better about themselves.

(Thanks to Eric for the link)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Denis Robert

    I’m shocked that Shermer has become a Socialist. I mean: “education for the masses”? What kind of Marxist trope is that? I’m sure his buddies at Reason magazine will have his hide for that kind of pinko-commie talk.

    • ACN

      To be fair, he didn’t suggest free/affordable healthcare for the masses.

      I always find myself frustrated by Shermer…

  • Anonymous

    I hear rants from conservative Christians all the time about how they don’t want their tax dollars wasted on something they don’t agree with.  Well, the tax dollars wasted by reaffirming “In God We Trust” is something I don’t agree with.

    I wonder how many people that cling to this motto have it printed on something made in China?

  • Anonymous

    It’s so nice seeing Democrats and Republicans working together towards a common goal — wasting money during a crisis and ganging up on what they perceive as a universally hated minority.  Bravo!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matt-Kovach/1270634973 Matt Kovach

    i’ll use my plastic …at least it doesnt say IGWT on it

    • Rich Wilson

      Hey, I wonder if FBB could get one of those cards where the 1% goes back to them… and actually have “In Reason We Trust” plastered accross the front of it.  Hemant?  Has that ever been looked into?

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matt-Kovach/1270634973 Matt Kovach

        i dont think so but it sounds like a kewl idea

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

        I’ll raise the idea. Thanks for bringing it up :)

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_55HCGTRPQF6BHC2QWJJ6NLP33M Eleanor

        I SOOOO want one of these. Hope it happens.

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

    Great article by Shermer. I should have avoided reading the comments on it though. They are full of stupid. Ugh.

  • Anonymous

    “I’d bet good money that most Christians who support the current motto have no idea why it’s our motto, when it became our motto, or what it even means.”
    A woman (I’ll call her W.) with whom I worked until recently, who is in her mid-sixties, and I used to discuss these things. We had a Xtian coworker who was–as is so often the case–deeply religious but astonishingly ignorant of what is actually in the bible. W. was constantly informing her of things such as the pagan origins of Xtian holidays and such, always met with first horror and then disbelief from our coworker. Nothing seemed to shock her more than when W. informed that the motto has not always been “In God We Trust,” and that W. actually remembered when it was changed, as she was a child or perhaps a teen. And do you know what? I don’t think she ever convinced that poor deluded woman otherwise.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X