Editor, Daily Nexus,
Like Jeff Dulgar (“Liberals Sideline ‘In God We Trust,” Daily Nexus, April 29), the argument about the removal of those words from U.S. currency is also one of my favorites – because they should be.
First off, those who oppose the printing of the religious phrase on our nation’s money aren’t all crazy “conspiracy theorists” as Dulgar would like. In fact, I’m moderately offended such a huge error and generalization was published. Many who make the argument against plugging “In God We Trust” and “One nation under God” don’t think it’s some “evil agenda” by the religious right. These phrases are simply in complete opposition to the U.S. Constitution.
The separation of church and state is no fine line: It’s a huge part of what this country is made. The First Amendment of our Constitution states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” And yes, U.S. currency should be included.
Dulgar is correct the phrase was first printed during the Civil War and even more during the McCarthy era, as no congressmen at the time would vote against “God,” and there was an effort to define America against its enemies. Keep in mind, though, all this is not in any way condoned by the Constitution. The phrases are obviously religious and should have no place on federal currency.
It may not seem to condone a specific religious doctrine, but that’s only because the word “God” is overwhelmingly used – especially in this country – in the Christian sense. Dulgar stated the phrase puts “our faith in an almighty being to watch over our great nation” again, pointed out only for the Christian population to agree. Our country includes many different religions, including many who have no need for religion at all, and to single one out and parade it around as “ours” is very inappropriate. This country was built on secular values and was never meant to support any particular religion. “God” may seem commonplace to many, but only because many Americans are Christians and we hear about it all the time. Imagine if our money said “In Allah We Trust” or “In Zeus We Trust.” I’m sure then it’d be a much bigger deal.
The phrase has been on our money for decades – Dulgar stated it as a “national tradition.” That doesn’t mean it has any merit to it. Slavery and women’s inability to vote were big American traditions before the Civil War – that doesn’t make them right. Tradition is no reason to continue an action, especially if that action impedes on our constitutional rights.
This may not be very significant to many, as I understand it’s just what’s written on our money, but it’s important to understand what we’re really ignoring here. Every time you hand someone a dollar, you’re promoting someone else’s religious views. Even if you are a Christian, that doesn’t mean your religion should be spread by using American money. The nation was founded on strictly secular and fair freedoms. To allow people’s religious views continue to be printed on our currency is just irresponsible.