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wifeysays's avatar

Why do you think U.S money says In God We Trust?

Asked by wifeysays (163points) April 5th, 2011

We all use U.S dollars and we look at it deeply time to time and read (In God We Trust) and find all the owls and or spiders hidden in a dollar bill but each coin and dollar bills have the same wording-(In God We Trust) Why? Its not that I don’t believe and or don’t trust God, because I do Trust but honestly daily my action doesn’t seem like it but someone always comes along to remind me to keep pressing forward and trust God.

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38 Answers

Ladymia69's avatar

Because this country, even though principles became different later on, was founded on religion. And it is still an incredibly religious place.

TexasDude's avatar

It was kind of a half-assed attempt to build solidarity against the commies.

Oh wait, that was the addition of “under God” to the Pledge. My bad.

Anyway, interesting tidbit time: Theodore Roosevelt opposed putting the motto on money because he believed it to be sacrilegious.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

It was originally a typo – they were trying to show how much a nation of puppy lovers we are, but they goofed it up, and then it stuck.

bolwerk's avatar

@wifeysays: through faith in The Lord, our financial system has remained corruption-free since 1776.

@ladymia69: the U.S. federal government was set up in a way, at least from the 1790s, to specifically disavow established religion. That “founded on religion” thing is an exaggeration , at best, if not outright lie.

JilltheTooth's avatar

I trust in @Dog. Just sayin’.

Scooby's avatar

When all else fails what else is there? :-/

zenvelo's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard It’s been on coins since the 1860’s but not on paper currency until 1957. So it was a half-assed attempt at fighting godless communism.

CaptainHarley's avatar

It would be more accurate to say that those who founded the Country were men of principle and honor, who honored God and tried to follow the Christian faith insofar as they could.

josie's avatar

It is in the last verse of The Star Spangled Banner-”...In God is our Trust”
Plus what @Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard said.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

Because our country was founded by people seeking religious freedom?

JLeslie's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard Your kinda right actually about it being added to the money like God in the pledge, see here.

@ladymia69 Not exactly, I find your sentence misleading. The country was founded on seeking religious freedom.

JLeslie's avatar

@Skaggfacemutt Why would seeking religious freedom lead to writing God on things? I realize you have a question mark at the end of your sentence, so you are guessing, I just wondered the logic behind your thought process.

Talimze's avatar

Because there is an unfortunately large number of Christians in the United States, and with that has come the notion that it is a Christian nation, and yes @bolwerk that is an outright lie.

Blackberry's avatar

A lot of people used to be and are religious.

CaptainHarley's avatar


Why “unfortunately?”

gondwanalon's avatar

When you think about it “In God We Trust” is kind of a weird thing to put on money. It seems sacrilegious in that I doubt that Jesus would approve of it. Just as He didn’t approve of people conducting business transactions using money in the temple.

It is part of our history now. So this practice will likely continue. And as it continues more and more people will scratch their heads and wonder why?

everephebe's avatar

Because, our money is no longer backed by gold… so, god is all we’ve got. Two imaginary things, protecting each other.

Gold – l =God?

Ladymia69's avatar

@bolwerk and @JLeslie My point was people from England (well, according to what history tells us, for what that’s worth) started to come and settle here because they were religious and were not having their Protestant beliefs tolerated in England. They came here because they wanted to be religiously free. And as much as people “disavowed” religion whilst they were writing the Constitution, well, that just never really stuck, did it? I mean, considering the majority of this nation is religious in some form or another!

Ladymia69's avatar

It’s funny how some people come into threads just to pick other peoples’ answers apart before they have even put in their own opinion.

Mutable's avatar

The Founding Fathers of the United States believed in GOD and for the most part were strongly religious men with strong beliefs in entitlements bestowed by GOD upon men (aka, inalienable rights) , and that these inalienable rights were so important that no earthly power can rightfully deny them. Therefore, the founders DID NOT put their trust in GOVERNMENT because if the GOVERNMENT can give us rights then the GOVERNMENT can take them away!! God’s inalienable rights of LIFE, LIBERTY, AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS are the foundation that our country was built on and no man can take them away! IN GOD WE TRUST!

Mikewlf337's avatar

I dunno, I never really thought about it. There are alot of people who believe in God in this country.

creative1's avatar

Taken from Wikipedia

In God We Trust was adopted as the official motto of the United States in 1956. It is also the motto of the U.S. state of Florida. The phrase has appeared on U.S. coins since 1864 and on paper currency since 1957.[1] Its Spanish equivalent, En Dios Confiamos, is the motto of the Central American nation of Nicaragua.[2]
One possible origin of In God We Trust is the final stanza of The Star-Spangled Banner. Written in 1814 by Francis Scott Key (and later adopted as the U.S. national anthem), the song contains an early reference to a variation of the phrase: ”...And this be our motto: ‘In God is our trust’.”[3]
It was first used as a motto on coinage on the 1864 two-cent coin, followed in 1866 by the 5 cent nickel (1866–1883), quarter dollar, half dollar, silver dollar and gold dollars.[1][4] An 1865 law allowed the motto to be used on coins.[5] The use of the motto was permitted, but not required, by an 1873 law. While several laws come into play, the act of May 18, 1908,[6] is most often cited as requiring the motto (even though the cent and nickel were excluded from that law, and the nickel did not have the motto added until 1938). Since 1938, all coins have borne the motto.
On July 11, 1955, just one year after the phrase “under God” was incorporated into the Pledge of Allegiance,[7] the U.S. Congress enacted Public Law 84–140, which required the motto on all coins and currency. The law was approved by President Eisenhower on July 30, 1956, and the motto was progressively added to paper money over a period from 1957 to 1966.[1]
In 1956 the phrase was legally adopted as the United States’ national motto by a law passed by the 84th United States Congress.(Public Law 84–851)”,[8] and the United States Code at United States, now states: ”‘In God we trust’ is the national motto.”

Some critics contend that the motto’s placement on money constitutes the establishment of a religion or a church by the government, thus violating the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and the Separation of church and state. The motto was first challenged in Aronow v. United States in 1970, but the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled: “It is quite obvious that the national motto and the slogan on coinage and currency ‘In God We Trust’ has nothing whatsoever to do with the establishment of religion. Its use is of patriotic or ceremonial character and bears no true resemblance to a governmental sponsorship of a religious exercise.”[9] The decision was cited in Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow, a 2004 case on the Pledge of Allegiance. In Lynch v. Donnelly (1984), the Supreme Court upheld the motto because it has “lost through rote repetition any significant religious content”. So-called acts of “ceremonial deism” have supposedly lost their “history, character, and context”.[10] In Zorach v. Clauson, the Supreme Court has also held that the nation’s “institutions presuppose a Supreme Being” and that government recognition of God does not constitute the establishment of such a state church as the Constitution’s authors intended to prohibit. Constitutionalists object to sworn judiciaries employing historical context in what they believe ought to be a raw textual interpretation.[11][12] Some activists have been known to cross out the motto on paper money as a form of protest.[13] Although federal law (18 U.S.C. § 333 and 18 U.S.C. § 475) prohibits defacement of currency, it specifies either “intent to render such bank bill…unfit to be reissued” or a “notice or advertisement”, and no documented cases exist of prosecution for such action. Additionally, the Federal Reserve frequently recirculates similarly altered notes.[14]
Outside of constitutional objections, President Theodore Roosevelt took issue with placing the motto on coinage as he considered it sacrilegious to put the name of God on money.[15]

Talimze's avatar

@CaptainHarley When people are surrounded by large numbers of like-minded individuals and little real opposition, they tend to become too . . . let’s say ‘certain of themselves.’

zenvelo's avatar

@ladymia69 Those colonists who came here for religious freedom were awfully intolerant of other religions in their colonies. Roger Willliams was kicked out of Massachusetts because the Puritans didn’t like his religious beliefs. And Thomas Hooker was also kicked out of Massachusetts for the same reason and started Connecticut.

But most of the original Colonies were NOT founded for religious freedom. New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia, were all founded to make money. Pennsylvania was given to William Penn to pay a debt, not to establish a religious colony.

The history of the United States is a lot more complicated than just the Pilgrims, Thanksgiving, and the Tea Party.

Ladymia69's avatar

@zenvelo GASP!! I thought it was all so simple!~~

I know it’s complicated, and I was being simplistic, but people came here for reasons that had to do with religion, whether or not they were hypocrites, and this country will always be thoroughly steeped in religion and dogma. That was my ultimate point.

JLeslie's avatar

@ladymia69 I think it is a knee-jerk reaction by people like me that are disgusted by statements like America is a Christian Country, and Obama included atheists in his innaugural speech-how awful! And, under God has always been in the pledge, but the liberals and the athiests want to take God out of everything! Huh? The way you worded it sounded like those type of people, haha, so my apologies if I lept to the wrong conclusion.

zenvelo's avatar

@ladymia69 I read your earlier answers the same way @JLeslie did. My apologies too.

CaptainHarley's avatar


I agree. I prefer to call it “philosophical inbreeding.” : )

I have always maintained that the unexamined faith is actually no faith at all.

Talimze's avatar

@CaptainHarley One needs to be challenged to actually advance one’s knowledge. Certainty is more proof that someone is wrong than that they’re right, I think.

@zenvelo I should say, also, that Maryland is slightly different, as it was intended to be a haven for Catholics, and so it had sort of a religious freedom thing going on, at least initially. But yes, money was the primary interest. Maryland was a lot like Virginia; a plantation colony.

CaptainHarley's avatar


I tend to agree, although not everyone can handle being challenged, and in particular having their belief system challenged. Some people seem to need a ready-made belief system into which they can slip as they would into an off-the-rack suit of clothes.

Ladymia69's avatar

@JLeslie I felt that knee jerk all the way over here! :) No worries, though, nor you @zenvelo…I am quite a knee-jerker myself when something catches a nerve.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@ladymia69 Technically, it’s true that the Puritans came here because their Protestant beliefs weren’t tolerated in England, but that’s not because England was Catholic – at the time, it was largely Protestant. Rather, Puritans were a radical, fundamentalist sect that refused to compromise on any issues and believed that it was imperative that they make England God’s Kingdom on Earth. When they failed to get their way all of the time, they left.

dabbler's avatar

there are facts about this. Thanks to zenvelo and creative1 for looking them up. Those of you going back to 1776 pretending the founding fathers had something to do with it… i mean like what up ? The founding fathers made a very definite point of establishing a separation of church and state because religious influence in government is pretty much guaranteed to take away someone’s freedom.

bolwerk's avatar

@MyNewtBoobs: they were kicked out of the uber-tolerant Netherlands too. They were probably kind of the Circumcellions or FDLS or Westboro Baptist Church of their day – wound up, silly, batshit nuts, and just pissin’ everyone off, staid Brits and liberal Dutch alike.

@dabbler: well, in all fairness, the federal government was set up to deliberately prohibit establishment. States were quite free to affiliate with official churches, and at least a few kept them around a while. Still, you have to way the hell back to find officially sanctioned establishment, and already the trend was to move away from it.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@bolwerk My name has a t in it

bolwerk's avatar

Typo. And a nice one, if I do say so myself!

Ladymia69's avatar

@MyNewtBoobs Thanks for catching me on that one…I knew it from study, but I don’t store facts in the old noggin as well as I used to, especially when trying to call them up at will.

mattbrowne's avatar


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