Can We Live Up to Our Motto “In God We Trust”?
Last Tuesday, by a vote of 396-9, the House reaffirmed our national motto “In God We Trust.” This motto was first adopted by Congress in 1956. Since there was no threat to abandon the motto, some lawmakers argue that the recent measure was unnecessary. President Obama mocked the legislation, saying it does nothing to create jobs.
It is good for us that we live in a country where we can have such a national motto. But I have to ask what I believe is a very relevant question: Can America live up to this motto, or are these empty words?
One of the challenges to our living up to this national motto, at least at the legislative level, has to do with the very freedoms that each of us has. Specifically, we have been granted freedom of religion. The result is that we live in a pluralistic society, and God means different things to different people. Hence, among those lawmakers who reaffirmed the motto by their vote last Tuesday, the majority of them voted the same way, but they had different concepts of God. Now imagine if they try to agree on and pass any legislation aimed at embracing this motto.
The second challenge to our living up to this motto is the word trust. In order for us to trust God, we must be willing to place our faith in what He says. From what I can see, our government would prefer that God have little or no say in its affairs. So how will this trust in God manifest itself in our government? Currently, even the public display of a plaque containing the Ten Commandments is a no-no in federally-funded buildings.
So let’s bring this motto down to the grassroots level. This is where it can work and for many of us it does. For instance, I am a Christian, and I am committed to living a life of trusting in the God of Christianity. I know of others who practice different religions, and they are free to commit themselves to trusting in their ideas of God. This is the practical significance of our national motto. And because in America we have been granted the religious freedom to personally embrace this motto, to me it is more than empty words.