The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution clearly states: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." Our nation's Founding Fathers drafted that Amendment for good reason: They knew from experience (via the Church of England's influence over the British government) that mixing religion with politics can impede individual freedom and democracy.
But that didn't stop the U.S. House of Representatives from taking a vote on Tuesday to reaffirm the phrase "In God We Trust" as the national motto. It passed by a vote of 396-9!
As Rev. Barry Lynn, Executive Director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, noted in a recent Washington Post blog post, "'In God We Trust' became the national motto is 1956 at the height of the Cold War. It was slap against those Godless commies. The fact that it was as bland and generic an endorsement of faith as one could get was actually seen as a plus."
It was unnecessary alarmist divisiveness then, and it's unnecessary alarmist divisiveness now.
As Rev. Lynn also noted in his blog post, "The fact is, we had perfectly good unofficial motto for a long time. 'E Plubus Unum' ('Out of Many, One') appears on the Great Seal of the United States, which was codified in 1782. That phrase really encapsulates what the United States is about. It celebrates that we are a diverse nation, a people drawn from many backgrounds who are united as Americans."
But apparently Congress is still afraid of the Godless commies.
Or a president with a foreign-sounding name, whom too many Americans mistakenly believe to be a secret Muslim.
The Founding Fathers are surely spinning in their graves.