On July 30, 1956 – sixty years ago – President Eisenhower signed legislation officially making “In God We Trust” our national motto.
Prior to the passage of the law, there was no official motto for the United States. Congress noted that “In God We Trust” had already been inscribed on coins and was part of the national anthem, which showed that it had a strong claim as our national motto. However, official designation would be “of great spiritual and psychological value to our country,” according to the Senate and House of Representatives at the time.
Even though the motto was not officially adopted until 1956, it is interwoven into the fabric of this nation, from our founding documents, to our currency, to inscriptions on our government buildings. Despite the prevalence of this motto throughout our society, it is still challenged by some as being controversial and an unconstitutional endorsement of religion.
So the question is, can our nation recognize the importance of faith without endorsing a particular religion?
The Declaration of Independence famously states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.”