On Tuesday, November 1, 2011, at 6:54 p.m., I walked onto the floor of the United States House of Representatives and was looking intently at the huge voting board that was illuminating the upper walls of the chamber. A roll call vote on House Concurrent Resolution 13 had just been called and the members’ votes were being rapidly tallied on the screens. When the Speaker’s gavel fell, 396 Members of Congress, who seldom agree on anything, had voted not just to reaffirm our national motto “In God We Trust” but to support and encourage the “public display of the national motto in all public buildings, public schools, and other government institutions.” Only nine members voted against the resolution. That was 10 years ago.
65 years ago on July 30, 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the law that officially established “In God We Trust” as our national motto and added it to our paper currency. He was not just any president, and he was not serving at just any time. He had commanded the most powerful military force in history. In his rear-view mirror, he saw how close freedom came to being extinguished during World War II, and he experienced first-hand as much as any American who has ever lived, the price tag of defending that freedom.
As he placed his hand on the Bible to be sworn in as President of the United States, he must have felt the weight of communist aggression in the Korean War and knew that no peace treaty had been signed (none has been signed to this day). Looking ahead, he was watching the increased aggression and militarization of the Soviet Union as well as their race to dominate the new space frontier.
Perhaps that is why on June 14, 1954, he would give a speech talking about the importance of reaffirming religious faith in both America’s heritage and in her future. He would go on to say that by doing so we would “constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country’s most powerful resource, in peace or in war.”
On July 13th of this year, the Chesapeake City Council continued in the steps of President Eisenhower and the Congress by unanimously voting to put “In God We Trust” on every city vehicle, including police and fire vehicles. Of course, there were the usual voices arguing their usual reasons why Chesapeake should not have been so bold:
Perhaps the question for us today is “Do we have more important things to do with our time?” Every time we display “In God We Trust” in our homes or businesses, every time we put it on our cars or in our schools, we are casting a vote to keep “In God We Trust” as our national motto and we are placing one more item on the wall of faith in America that the anti-faith groups must pull off before they can destroy our great faith heritage and take faith out of our children’s future. With suicides and homicides on the rise across our nation, with almost every institution that has brought stability to our Republic under attack, maybe we have more important things to do.
On the other hand, maybe this is just the time when we should take a moment and put “In God We Trust” on the walls of our offices, houses, classrooms, and buildings, on the bumpers of our cars, and in the windows of our shops, and let our children know “In God We Still Trust.”
Go to www.cpcfonline.com to get your “In God We Trust” decals, posters, and more.