Today’s the anniversary of a petty mistake.

Today, 55 years ago, in an effort to thumb our collective noses at the godless communists of Russia, “In God We Trust” first appeared on paper currency.

A law passed by the 84th Congress (P.L. 84-140) and approved by the President on July 30, 1956, the President approved a Joint Resolution of the 84th Congress, declaring IN GOD WE TRUST the national motto of the United States. IN GOD WE TRUST was first used on paper money in 1957, when it appeared on the one-dollar silver certificate. The first paper currency bearing the motto entered circulation on October 1, 1957. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) was converting to the dry intaglio printing process. During this conversion, it gradually included IN GOD WE TRUST in the back design of all classes and denominations of currency.

And in 55 years, little has changed: people still use god as a taunt and as a way to feel superior.

Go to an ATM, withdraw some paper currency, and spend it on something sinful.  Piss god off by enjoying the hell out of it.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • eric

    It’s not “In God We Thrust”?

    Oh man, I’ve been reading it wrong.

    • Micah

      No, that is the Catholic Church’s motto…

      • WMDKitty


  • Randomfactor

    Wish I could piss god off that easily. But his whole not-existing gets in the way.

  • Icy Cantu

    This glorious motto on our currency is particularly relevant in our country today, when the dollar may or may not be worth the paper on which it is printed. As a nation we are declaring that we trust in God and His provision – not in the copper-zinc-paper-plastic we pass back and forth each day – for our survival.

    • Cubist

      Considering how many people in this world are starving to death, suffering from lethal illnesses, and so on and so forth, I think any dispassionate observer (which Believing Xtians most assuredly are not, where matters impinging on their Belief are concerned) would have to conclude that this God person is areally, really shitty ‘provider’.

    • Kodie

      You know what’s really efficient is a cheap piece of paper that stands for an amount of money and even cheaper a digital transaction than tying the value to the money in a format that’s expensive to make and use. That’s why we’re not hauling gold bars around to pay for a candy bar. Or, you know, why we don’t pay for a car with a warehouse of candy bars.

  • Rich Stage

    Hookers and blow, my friends. You want to piss off any religion, it’s gotta be hookers and blow.

  • John Horstman

    I secularize all of my paper currency and make a little note next to the “legal tender” bit that it’s not speech. Coins are trickier; I’ll occasionally grind the god bit off with a rotary grinder if I’m bored and have an hour to kill, but mostly I leave them alone.

    • Drakk

      Is it legal to do that in the US?

    • Kodie

      You know what’s also great is when you have to pay for something with nickels. I know cashiers at the gas station don’t get paid that much to deal with this monkey business, but it says “in god we trust” on them, it is money. I think it’s great because most people do believe in god, and you know, maybe they would think they didn’t have to treat nickels the same as dollar bills, but they do have to since that’s all I have sometimes. I’m asking for someone else to treat my money as worth an amount, to trust it, and not say, “you pig, roll these up and change them at the bank, what do I look like, I have time for this?”

      Yes, yes you do, it says right on the thing.

  • Mark

    So, which god does “IN GOD WE TRUST” refer to?