Talk:In God We Trust/Archive 1

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Archive 1 Archive 2

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? reference

Take a look at the "Llewelyn-Bowen second chance" section of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? (UK game show). Perhaps this should be added to "Cultural references", or perhaps it's not relevant enough to include here. violet/riga (t) 18:54, 22 April 2006 (UTC)

Teddy Roosevelt Letter

Int he part about the history of the motto where it discusses Teddy Roosevelt's feeling on the motto being on money, italics and bolds are added that are not in the original, cited text. I am editing the italics and bold out.--Henrybaker 21:56, 1 January 2007 (UTC)

Material copied from a public source

The article seems well-written and for the most part well-sourced. In my view it is too bad that there's need for a tag saying approximately that "contains text from public domain source", referring to the "In Coins We Trust" brochure. It impugns the work done by wikipedia editors in the rest of the article, as you can't tell which is merely copied from that source. Can't the specific material from the one source be identified and put in proper quotes, then remove that tag, instead? It doesn't matter that it is public domain or not, proper referencing, including use of quotation marks to indicate wording is from a published source, is needed. doncram (talk) 17:17, 14 January 2008 (UTC)


Much of this information is copied verbatim from — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 19:06, 19 April 2006 (UTC)

That's OK. That's the official web site of the U.S. Treasury Department. The U.S. government cannot hold copyright, and Wikipedia is free to use this material. -- Beland 05:00, 3 June 2006 (UTC)
So it is not copyright violation. But it remains poor referencing (to fail to use quotes to show where actual wording is another author's. It would improve the article to rewrite the copied material. doncram (talk) 20:36, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

questions to address?

"the phrase can also be found on the license plates of Indiana, North Carolina, South Carolina and Ohio"

It seems curious that the national motto could be used by states which do not share it as their own motto, like a form of plagiarism or identify theft. States aren't free to use other national things as they like, like calling the national flag their state flag, or having their own rules about how to use it. It would be interesting to know more about how these states decided to/were able to do this.

"However, by 1956 it had not been established so by legislation as the official "national motto", and therefore "In God We Trust" was selected."

The "therefore" suggests that "In God We Trust" was adopted as the motto precisely and only because "E Pluribus Unum" had not been, which doesn't make any sense. Шизомби (talk) 18:08, 20 April 2008 (UTC)

Old talk

Evilweevil 19:54, 24 Mar 2004 (UTC): Somebody should add links to the Newdow v. United States Congress case.

Siliconman 11:40, 22 September 2005 (EDT): I think that Aronow v. United States is more relevant than Newdow

Orbit 5 Dec 2004: Nice job keeping a clean simple explination of the issue.

The following doesn't seem to make sense...

A law passed by the 84th United States Congress (P.L. 84-140) and approved by the President on July 30, 1956. The President approved a joint resolution declaring In God We Trust the national motto of the United States.

The first part is not a sentence. I don't know what the actual meaning behind this should be, or what exactly a joint resolution is, so I haven't changed it. As it stands its not exactly innacurate, just nonsensical :) Jasongetsdown 21:25, 26 October 2005 (UTC)

-- Ah, it's missing a "was" between the "law" and "passed." If it's not already fixed I'll do so now. Lamarcus 20:30, 28 January 2005

"Was" is understood even if omitted and is seen in common usage. It doesn't matter either way. 21:04, 14 June 2006 (UTC)Brian Pearson
No, "was" is never understood; it's omission is simply a mistake. -- (talk) 00:19, 27 March 2009 (UTC)'s edits

I reversed the edits made by because it seemed as if it was copy-pasted from another source. It's not written in a way that would be acceptable for this article or wikipedia. — raeky (talk | edits) 04:28, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

Controversy of removing motto from coins= May be a nice inclusion as it's what brought me here. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:07, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

All that is talking about is a mint error, important for coin collectors, but has nothing to do with actually removing the motto. — raeky (talk | edits) 18:55, 19 July 2009 (UTC)

On currency in other nations

I would like to mention that the coins of Nicaragua (I'm looking at one now) bear the motto "En Dios confiamos" Anyone know of other nations with the same sentiment on their money?Zeefrog (talk) 02:07, 12 February 2009 (UTC)

You're definately right. En Dios Confiamos translates to the same thing in English. I've taken care of that in addressing it in the article. However, Nicaragua is the only other country in the world that shares this motto. I've known this for a long while, but I guess having an extra person who agrees seals the deal. Mbhskid520 (talk) 06:40, 14 February 2010 (UTC)


I cleaned this section up a bit. Fixed lots of spelling errors and bad grammar. Also removed about half a paragraph that had nothing to do with the article, and just sounded like someone who's a bit irate at the system blowing off some steam. You can put it back if you want - as a casual reader, I can tell you it made this article lose all credibility upon reading. Uncreative 16:52, 5 June 2007 (UTC)

It is still littered with weaselness and seemingly OR, all these "some people", "others" or "they" need to be replaced with specific names, places, facts and citations. SGGH speak! 19:56, 30 June 2007 (UTC)

Is the weasel word banner really still necessary? It seems to me to be pretty well cited now. Can someone point out what I'm missing, or am I right about it being fixed now? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:53, 7 November 2007 (UTC)

I object to the first sentence of this section, which reads, "The motto is opposed by some but it is still widely popular among Americans," with the following citation: [1]. The website is Pew Forum: On Religion and Public Life, which I wouldn't exactly regard as an NPOV source, and the reference is in fact to the same Gallup poll mentioned immediately following this sentence and another, less specifically described, Gallup poll from the following year of 2004. First of all, the data actually cited in this article is six years old, while the other poll, not cited in either place, is five years old. Secondly, this was during the time the Bush administration was rallying support for the invasion of Afghanistan as well as the year Kerry lost the election nobody could lose because gay marriage was the ballot issue. Thirdly, I have a huge problem with the conclusion that it is "widely popular" - with that particular language - is drawn from the fact that 90% of people polled responded that they approve of it being there. Lastly, I have to say marginalising the opposition with the word "some" while it is "widely popular" by others is definitely in violation of WP:AWW, even if the fact that it is widely supported is cited. I want to see it gone, along with the citation, but instead I'm altering it to read, "The motto is opposed for a variety of reasons, but is still widely supported by Americans," pending the discovery of more recent polling data. this raven is icy (talk) 23:46, 16 May 2009 (UTC)
Buzgun, thank you for updating the phrasing rather than deleting. The Pew Forum page was original used to cite the existence of a controversy, a statement that had previously not been backed-up. It goes to show how Wikipedia still deals with issues of being accurate to a point and then slowly twisted into another, lesser statement as the citation was moved to "support" another sentence. However, you should note that Pew is a nonpartisan, non-advocacy organization and Gallup polls are merely trackers of public opinion. As far as systems of mass measurement go, they're far more reliable than partisan advocacy groups. Public opinion is swayed by current events like the actions of the Bush administration for better or worse, and 90% approval is a large margin. Granted the age of the report is not ideal but there is no more recent poll and the year is clearly stated for the reader to take into consideration. Please do not remove cited statements just because they rub you the wrong way. Once they're gone, someone else is more than likely to just throw in hearsay and the whole section will fall apart. Ando228 (talk) 21:17, 18 May 2009 (UTC)

The line "Constitutionalists object to sworn judiciaries employing historical context in what they believe ought to be a raw textual interpretation." does not accurately describe Constitutionalists views and I would like to see it removed. The references given do not validate the statement. Even Wikipedia entry in constitutionalism states "In U.S. History, constitutionalism—in both its descriptive and prescriptive sense—has traditionally focused on the federal Constitution. Indeed, a routine assumption of many scholars has been that understanding "American constitutionalism" necessarily entails the thought that went into the drafting of the federal Constitution and the American experience with that constitution since its ratification in 1789." Dlapham (talk) 13:38, 7 October 2009 (UTC)

Just for the record: I oppose the quick deletion of the photo in the controversy section. That photo is just fine and doesn't deserve to be deleted just because somebody was offended by it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by LordCustos3 (talkcontribs) 01:39, 8 August 2010 (UTC)

Defacement of currency

It seems to me that stamping currency or crossing out "In God We Trust" would not be considered illegal because it does not make the money unfit for exchange. However, I can't find it specifically spelled out. Does anyone know of any court cases? It's under the jurisdiction of the Secret Service. I'm assuming they don't consider it a priority. It doesn't apply to coins because defacing "means that you may be violating the law if you change the appearance of the coin and fraudulently represent it to be other than the altered coin that it is. As a matter of policy, the U.S. Mint does not promote coloring, plating or altering U.S. coinage: however, there are no sanctions against such activity absent fraudulent intent." (Is it illegal to damage or deface coins?) Ando228 (talk) 16:22, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

I concur, it's clearly not illegal Title 18 United States Code, Section 333 which is the quoted law clearly is an intent based law, meaning you have to INTEND for it to be not fit for recirculation, a simple mark across the word GOD or even the whole motto would NOT be enough to declare it unfit for recirculation according to the FRB's fitness standards. The only time this law has ever come into play (As far as I know) is Keese v. Zerbst, 88 F.2d 795 (C.C.A. Kan., 1937), certiorari denied 57 S.Ct. 933 (1937). That case involved a person who was convicted of a forgery offense, and attempted to argue that he should only have been convicted of defacing currency. "Certiorari denied" indicates that the United States Supreme Court refused to hear the case, and allowed the Kansas court decision to stand. Also since this is clearly a FREE SPEECH act by expressing your belief that the motto should not be on currency, it would be impossible to prosecute you. Given those two facts I prose that the reference to it being of unknown legal status be removed, or rephrased with some of the above info. (another source) Raeky (talk) 03:49, 19 October 2008 (UTC)

I agree and have undone the removal of this image. --John (talk) 05:39, 13 May 2009 (UTC)

Regarding the illegality of the practice , the currency is clearly defaced to a point at which it cannot be recirculated since it is missing text mandated by the currency specification and has text that is not included in the currency specification . This is not incidental wear and tear but significant modification of the currency . This particular means of defacing the currency clearly makes it unsuitable for recirculation . Any sane person defacing the currency in such a way must harbour some intent to make it unsuitable for recirculation , violating the cited law if he attempts to spend the money or to return it to circulation . First amendment protections do not apply since the crime is knowingly passing uncirculable currency to another party . I agree that the image does not show a criminal act since it does not imply that one has attempted to spend the money or to exchange it at the Federal Reserve . --Frank.trampe (talk) 05:11, 17 May 2009 (UTC)

You're opinion on the removal of the word "god" does not coincide with the FRB's fitness standards and common practice. If they removed from circulation any note that had markings or damage that obscured a "required" (as you put it) word then they'd be destroying far more bills they they currently are increasing costs. From projects like wheresgeorge we've got a fairly good understanding of what the FRB will and will not destroy. — raeky (talk | edits) 20:19, 17 May 2009 (UTC)
Wrote this at the same time as Raeky was providing his reply:
The bill is not "defaced to a point at which it cannot be recirculated": Raeky provided the federal statute describing when money is unfit for circulation. The defaced text may be "mandated by the currency specification", but this merely means that it's on the bill, and that if it weren't on the printed bill, you wouldn't be holding money made by the U.S. Blacking out the text does not mean that this "mandated" text is no longer on the bill; it does not mean, to wit, that your bill was not printed by the U.S. It is not a "significant modification of the currency" because, as it is still legal tender according to federal statute, the modification is not enough to prevent it from being passed in recirculation, making the modification qualifiedly insignificant. This whole thing is really argumentation designed to incite rather than to clarify, but these next few are perfect examples of weasel wording and mouth-stuffing: "... clearly makes it unsuitable for recirculation ... Any sane person ... must harbour some intent ...." Nobody can "[violate] the cited law" by "[attempting] to spend the money or return it to circulation" after they've defaced the bill in such a way, because the cited law can only, once again, by intending for it to be unfit for recirculation; anyone marking the bill in such a way clearly wants it to be passed to others so they can see what's been done to it, for one, and for another your alleged Mad Blasphemers probably wouldn't even know enough about the case law to actually intend to make it unfit for recirculation by, as you've proposed, marking out "text mandated by the currency specification" - frankly, if they wanted to do that, there are much better ways. What it really gets down to, though, is this next part about how "First amendment protections do not apply ..." - Yes, yes sir, they do. While they may not in the god- (or, if it makes you feel better, God-)fearin' parts of wherever you live, in the civilised regions where judges, peacekeepers and lawmakers have been trained in our strange ways of respecting, rather than repressing, people's opinions, first amendment protections do in fact apply, especially in the context of actively protesting what's viewed as a brazen violation of constitutional law! At first I was simply going to pass off these objections to the consensus as merely religioconservative claptrap, but I think this particular content deserves the proper reasoning for inclusion, and the idea that it is valid because it "does not show a criminal act" is tied to all manner of bias, prejudice and jingoism directed firmly at non-believers. If any of Frank.trampe's statements continue a line of argumentation over the bill-defacing issue, they will do so with a big [citation needed] next to them.

In light of the Fitness Standards clearly stating the defaced currency is unfit for circulation , the unsourced legal opinion that defacing currency is acceptable needs some additional support . Whether certain defaced bills have escaped scrutiny is beyond the point regarding the legality . ( Although , on this note , the defaced example is in bold black ink , and the bold black examples on [2] were rejected . ) The point is that changing the text of the currency is defacing it in such a way that it is no longer of a « series-design approved for recirculation » ( from the Fitness Guidelines ) and thus violates 18 U.S.C. § 333 . It also employs United States currency in order to advertise a belief that the Supreme Court does not have authority to decide the Constitutionality of an action of the federal government , violating 18 U.S.C. § 475 . In light of the technical illegality of the defacing currency , any claim of practical legality must have more support than documentation of cases in which the action has not been prosecuted . Also , although it does not make a great deal of sense to me , it seems that the previous comment is driven more by a bitterness towards our national institutions than by any interest in reasonable discussion , and I will wait for clarification before I respond . --Frank.trampe (talk) 04:31, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

Removing the motto is a form of protest, how is that NOT the specific exact definition of protected free speech? I think you'd need more sources to prove that it isn't then that it is. Likewise noone has ever been tried, or even charged under 18 U.S.C. § 333, ever. As far as specifically marking on bills the legalities have been well researched and covered in the WG? community. One thing that needs better researched of course is if specifically marking out JUST the motto with black ink on a completely brand new bill is alone enough to cause it to be destroyed when sent through the FED's machine. From my experience in what actually comes out of sealed FRB bricks I'd say it probably isn't. Frank said he contacted them to see if they would answer that question, but I don't think they'll respond. The section that was deleted has references, the laws need referenced at least and the FRB's fitness standards I believe is relevant to the section. I admit it is unsourced to say that marking out of the motto is a free speech act, and possibly that would need referenced by at least a lawyer's opinion, but I'm fairly sure that anyone can see it is? I fully object to the article stating or even hinting it may be criminally illegal to mark out the motto, because there isn't a snowballs chance that you'd be charged under any law for doing it. Prove otherwise? — raeky (talk | edits) 05:06, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

Re-reading the comment before my previous comment , I was able to make a little more sense of it , and I can respond to some of the points : {

  1. Whether the defacer wants the currency to continue circulating or not is not relevant to whether he knows that he makes it technically unsuitable for circulation according to the fitness standards . It is clear that , when the note finally does reach the Reserve , the Reserve cannot reïssue the note in accordance with fitness standards since it is defaced ( even if it chooses to reïssue it for cost reasons ) . In the same way , graffiti on a federal court-house is not considered legal on basis of the economic merits of deferring clean-up .
  2. The assertion that the currency is still valid because « it is still legal tender according to federal statute » is somewhat cyclical .
  3. The First Amendment does not protect all crimes that relate to expression . The closest example is forgery since , in either case , one attempts to redeem the value of a note that is no longer fit for recirculation by his own actions .
  4. The assertion that a Supreme Court decision violates the Constitution seems to be somewhat contrary to the established principle of Judicial review in the United States .
  5. Asking for evidence of the legality of something that seems to be prohibited by multiple federal laws is not unpatriotic or hateful .

} . --Frank.trampe (talk) 04:49, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

First, find anywhere that anyone has been charged under 18 U.S.C. § 333 or 18 U.S.C. § 475, I bet you can't. Second forgery laws only come into play if you're trying to pass a FAKE banking instrument as a legitmate one. Soiled and damaged (even if the soiling and damage is your own fault, and even if that is delibrate on your part) does not invalidate legal tender, prove otherwise? Wheresgeorge users routinely deface currency, some to the point it will obviously be destroyed. No one has ever been charged or even asked to not do what they're doing there. US Currency is valid even if damaged and defaced, even if you write VOID across it. These rules may not apply globally, but this article is about US Currency, not world currency. The First Amendment does apply in this case, to mark out the motto is a delibrate protest act that you don't belive it should be on there, thus protected free speech. You can stand on the steps of the capital in DC and destroy bricks of currency all day long and noone is going to charge you with a crime, you may be considered insane though for that, lol. You may consider these unsourced statements but I challenge you to find any reference or case law that invalidates them. — raeky (talk | edits) 05:14, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

I like automatic numbering . Thank you for showing me how to do that .

  1. Wikipedia's standards do not recognize the validity of a statement on basis of a lack of a counter-example . I am often tempted to write mathematical proofs that involve a step of « I could not find a counter-example . » , but that is bad practice . In the same way , a legal opinion is not valid because of a lack of counter-examples . A law's enforcibility is not at all related to whether it is frequently enforced . I can safely break many laws and avoid prosecution but cannot void the laws by doìng so . If you do wish to employ this logic , though , I would like to point out that the Supreme Court has never overturned a law on basis of its infrequent enforcement .
  2. I was only employing forgery as an example of why First Amendment protections do not apply , which is why I described it as an example . I am not saying that the same laws apply ; I am attempting to explain the seeming intent of the law , namely to discourage people from incurring unnecessary costs for the Federal Reserve by redeeming intentionally damaged currency for new currency .

Considering the lack of evidence , I do not propose returning my original statement , but I also do not think that the currently posted opinion ought to remain . Although my opinion was at least based upon the laws and the fitness guidelines , the current statement is based upon uncited sources regarding a court's likelihood to ignore the law . --Frank.trampe (talk) 05:38, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

There is direct quotes available from secret service agents in regards to them not caring about wheresgeorge markings on bills and that they would not waste their time in presuming any actions against such markings. I don't see a whole lot of difference between boldly marked georges and someone marking out the motto, in the sense of level of defacement. Boldly marked georges for WG? is going to be far FAR more defaced then just marking out the motto, and if the secret service has no interest in going after that then they'd have less in an individual marking out the motto. Would those references be applicable here? — raeky (talk | edits) 00:41, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
That is important evidence for the lack of enforcement , but , once again , a law's validity is not at all dependent upon whether it is enforced , and the validity of the fitness guidelines is not dependent upon whether economic concerns compel the Reserve to over-look them . Nothing but a court ruling can serve to annul the statute or to rule it unconstitutional . Although it is a reasonable statement , even saying that prosecution is unlikely puts us in the position of giving possibly flawed legal advice . We simply ought to note that the two statutes may prohibit the action but that no documented cases of prosecution exist . --Frank.trampe (talk) 04:23, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
« Although federal law ( 18 U.S.C. § 333 and 18 U.S.C. § 475 ) prohibits defacement and modification of currency under certain specific conditions , no documented cases exist of prosecution for such action ( reference to the Secret Service agents ) , and the Federal Reserve frequently recirculates similarly defaced notes ( reference to your study ) . » --Frank.trampe (talk) 04:40, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
I also forgot to note before that , as the picture shows , a marking over the national motto is often accompanied by an additional message in dark ink which takes more space than the Where's George marking . Saying that striking the motto is less of a modification than many Where's George markings that passed inspection might lead some readers to believe that the bill pictured would pass inspection . Since it is so similar to the first bills pictured in the Graffiti section of your study ( which failed the inspection ) , this would not be a reasonable conclusion . I think that my previously suggested sentence adequately avoids giving a legal or currency fitness opinion . --Frank.trampe (talk) 04:40, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
The example image in the article I would hardly say is typical. When I mark bills for WG? I use a small circle with slash through it stamp to cover over the word "God" in addition to my WG? related stamps. The provided example image in the article I think is probably over-marking. But even in the WG? community that isn't atypical. A very standard stamp is a 3 liner stamped over the big ONE on the back like that. It's also fairly common to see people using 3, 4 or even up to 7 or 8 different stamps on a single bill, in addition to coloring/handwriting. It has a lot to do with personal style. Basically a gorger at some point either makes the decision to be minimalist and try NOT to have their bills destroyed or to give up and accept that if it's sent to the fed it will be so go for max visibility while it is in circulation. Those are the two approaches. Same concept would apply here, a tiny stamp over the word God would never be noticed by many people, but combined with some big bold stamp across the back, might be noticed more. — raeky (talk | edits) 14:19, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
Do you have any amendments for my proposed statement ? If not , I propose that we leave it for comment over the week-end . --Frank.trampe (talk) 05:40, 30 May 2009 (UTC)
Probably is an acceptable change in wording, I second the wait for further comments. — raeky (talk | edits) 05:59, 30 May 2009 (UTC)
"The assertion that a Supreme Court decision violates the Constit ution seems to be somewhat contrary to the established principle of Judicial review in the United States." Is 100% correct. Whether or not one feels that it is unconstitutional to have the motto "In God We trust" does not mean that it is truly unconstitutional. If that were the case, we could now consider psychos like Rush Limbaugh a staple of American constitutional justification. In the case of the US, it is the judiciary review that constitutes if something is in violation of the constitution. In this case, the Supreme Court (Highest court in the US) validated the constitutional stability of the phrase "In God We Trust." To say it is unconstitutional is a matter of opinion, as the Judicial review declared that it is not in violation. We have the courts for a reason ladies and gents. (talk) 21:42, 11 August 2010 (UTC)
In regards to defacement, marking out a part of a note (a dollar bill) is not illegal "per se." It is not technically defacement, but is "MAY" be considered illegal for other reasons, however, no one's really called them out on it. The "Where's George" page has a link for what I'm talking about. (talk) 21:44, 11 August 2010 (UTC)

Official Justification?

I'm european and this "In god we trust"-thing is a bit irritating to me. What is the official justification why it is okay to make an exception to your church-state-separation in this case? (talk) 18:59, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

Official Justification? We don't need no steeenkeeeng Official Justification. It's irrational, but there it is. No need to be irritated about it -- especially if you're not a US citizen. If you are a US citizen and are irritated, write your congressman—unless, of course, you happen to be a nonresident expat or a Puerto-Rican and thereby have no Congressional representation. (Hmmmm.... wasn't there something about "No taxation without representation"? That's been forgotten, it seems.) For some expansion on the info in the article, see some of the cited sources—the lower-left corner of this, or this, for example. -- Boracay Bill (talk) 00:44, 12 March 2008 (UTC)
Come on, is it really THAT easy to ignore such a fundamental concept of your country? I'm sure there must be a statement somewhere on when it is okay to ignore state-church-separation, right? Like, would it be okay to put something like "Have a nice reincarnation!" on your money or is this exception only made for abrahamic religions? (talk) 10:33, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

As a non-US citizen who has worked in the US for some years, I HAVE paid tax there without any form of representation - so that is a principle emphatically NOT forgotten by me - but also NOT honoured by the new regime after 1776. (This information is included for the elucidation of Boracay Bill, above). However, the fundamental point remains unanswered, which is that the separation between church and state is, prima facie, compromised by the use of the word 'God' in state instruments such as banknotes, legal oaths etc. The fact that the US Constitution mentions neither God nor Christianity (contrary to Mr McCain's recent claims that it was founded as a Christian state), and only mentions religion in the context of " religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States." is clear evidence that religion and state are separate. Attempts by legislators to add such things through Congressional measures are therefore questionable in constitutional terms. The fact that measures such as the "In God we trust" legislation was enacted into law reflects the fact that it was not challenged constitutionally at the time. Geoff97 (talk) 01:34, 25 June 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for your remarks, Geoff, and for the information included for my elucidation. I'll mention here that the tone of my earlier remarks to which you reacted was intended to be taken as tongue-in-cheek, though the content was intended to be taken seriously — I must have been near the end of a long wiki-edit session when I wrote that. Anyhow, responding—Yes, as I noted in my remarks already mentioned, you, as a noncitizen, would have no voting rights and no governmental representation at the federal level. Depending on where you reside in the U.S., you may or may not have voting rights at the local level. I, as a U.S. citizen who is not a resident of any U.S. state, have neither. See Voting rights in the United States, Right of foreigners to vote in the United States,and Right of foreigners to vote for some more info about that. Changing any of that in the U.S. would, as I understand it, require constitutional amendments which have virtually zero chance of ever coming to pass. None of that has anything at all to do with the article associated with this talk page, of course. -- Boracay Bill (talk) 23:07, 25 June 2008 (UTC)

I am irritated about it.-- (talk) 04:03, 21 March 2008 (UTC)

Perhaps I just have a different conception of secularity but I, not being American either, wonder how it can be that no court ever scrapped this motto. I'm missing some information in the seemingly recently "cleaned" Controversy section of this article on what for example the Supreme Court had to say on this subject. For me as an outsider the national motto is clearly unconstitional and what I read on [3] is hardly credible as official statement of such an institution. --Mudd1 (talk) 10:34, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

I thought this Pew Forum article would be of interest. An excerpt: "Most courts view the motto and the pledge as 'ceremonial deism,' a legal term for religious statements that are deemed to have lost their fundamental religious character due to their longtime, customary use." Ando228 (talk) 15:02, 26 June 2008 (UTC)

A quick look at the United States Constitution should answer many of these questions . The First Amendment does not mention a separation of church and state . It merely prohibits Congress from taking any action with respect to the establishment of religion and from restricting any person's right to practice his religion . At the time of the writing of the Constitution , this served primarily to protect the established churches of nine of the states from interference by the federal government . In particular , these states did not want the federal government to determine which church ought to be established in their respective states . It was the Fourteenth Amendment that extended the protection of a person's right to practice his religion to the states , and , for some time , many of the New England state constitutions had authorized the state government to enjoin worship attendance and support of the church upon any resident . The Fourteenth Amendment also specified « equal protection of the laws » for all citizens even by state governments . This has been employed for the further limitation of the support that state governments offer to religious organizations . Even in light of the Fourteenth Amendment , courts have generally held ( see the article ) that establishing a national motto is not the same as establishing a state church and does not inhibit any persons from enjoying the protection of the nation's laws . --Frank.trampe (talk) 05:23, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

Right! "Establishment Clause" means establishing an actual church. If it said, "In Christ We Trust," then I think it might be interferring with the Establishment Clause. If it said, "In Methodism We Trust," then it would definitely be unconstitutional. Peace! (talk) 18:11, 7 June 2009 (UTC)
I'm not sure how this contributes to improving the article, but I disagree with 4.225's thinking. (s)he says, "If it said, 'In Methodism We Trust,' then it would definitely be unconstitutional.".I presume that comes from a non-Methodist. How about "In God We Trust" as viewed by an atheist—a nonbeliever in the existence of a Supreme Being? That seems like the same amount of intrusion. Going back to Frank.trampe, after re-reading the 1st and 14th amendments I guess that I (a non-lawyer) agree that mandating that motto doesn't seem to rise to the level of a conflict with the restriction placed by the 1st amendment. -- Boracay Bill (talk) 12:27, 8 June 2009 (UTC)
I was 4.225XXXX, who originally said that. Just so that it is known, I'm an agnostic. (talk) 03:58, 3 November 2010 (UTC)

"In God We Trust" is a LOGICALLY FALSE statement. It's like saying "Blue Eyes We Have". Some do and others don't. "In God Most(Some) Of Us Trust" would be a more accurate wording. Also, if the statement is false, does it even matter whether it's constitutional? (talk) 18:54, 28 August 2009 (UTC) the statement was written a few hundred years ago, the grammar was very different then (it was added in 1956 though, not sure where the original phrase originated). You guys can't seriously be from Europe if you think that "in God We trust" is some unheard of seperation of church and state contridiction. Denmark: God's help, the love of the people, Denmark's strength... Germany: God with us... Poland: God, Honor, Fatherland (no official motto, but that's the one used)... In Romania, where only a margin of the population are actually religious, their motto is "Nothing without God." Seriously guys.... wow... (talk) 21:27, 11 August 2010 (UTC)

Treasury Web Site Reorganized

The current location of the referenced fact sheet is spx —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:32, 16 May 2011 (UTC)

The origin of the phrase is no doubt derived from the Bible

The word "bible" is not mentioned in the Treasury fact sheet and quoting the Christian Bible provides no evidence that this claim is true, irrespective of whether or not anyone has any "doubts." — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 23:38, 16 May 2011 (UTC)

WWTBAM COntroversy???

The end of the article says there was a British episode of WWTBAM, where the contestant picked as the US motto "In GOd We Trust" instead of the 'correct' answer, "From One COme Many"...yet the beginning of the article says "In God We Trust" IS in fact the national motto. Well, which is it? (The WWTBAM section seems thrown on by someone who wants to call out the show on a supposed trivia error, so I lend more credibility to the motto being "In FGod We Trust", although I would have never have known that was our actual 'motto'). (talk) 17:29, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

The question wasn't about what is "right or wrong," they just thought the question was not fair. The correct answer is indeed, "In God We Trust," but the question was just "not fair." (talk) 21:29, 11 August 2010 (UTC)
"A law passed by the 84th Congress (P.L. 84-140) and approved by the President on July 30, 1956, the President approved a Joint Resolution of the 84th Congress, declaring IN GOD WE TRUST the national motto of the United States." — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 23:43, 16 May 2011 (UTC)

Memorial to a National Military Tragedy-The Civil War

The level of horror of the Civil War is almost incomprehensible to a modern American. To attempt to quantify it, we can compare the most grotesque single day of the Civil War to the most gutwrenching day known to us all. The casualties at the Battle of Antietam were TEN TIMES the number of casualties at 'Ground Zero, on September 11, 2001, BUT the population of the United States during the Civil War was ONE TENTH the current population.

To properly put September 17, 1862, into perspective you must compare it to 100 911's. Modern Americans rushed to Churches on the next Sunday after 911, Sunday, September 16, 2001. What would be the religious response to an event 100X worse?

Yet, the Battle of Antietam was not an isolated single event-it was a small part of a system of similar events over four years. Even though only soldiers were dying, they were American soldiers dying on American soil.

What if you were wearing a uniform, carrying a rifle, and commanded to move forward at the Battle of Antietam? What would you do? The answer for one regiment of Pennsylvanians was to chant their battle cry, "IN-GOD-WE-TRUST!"

If the 125th Pennsylvania Infantry Wikipage has credibly cited the Chief Historian at Antietam National Battlefield, the motto "In God We Trust" appeared 1) prior the adoption of the motto by the government and 2) independently of governmental influence. Having researched the chain of letters between the Philadelphia Mint and Treasury Secretary P. Chase during the period, it is clear from the original handwritten letter of authorization on December 9, 1863, that he first writes "In God is Out Trust," strikes out "is Our," and overwrites "We" to arrive at "In God We Trust." Sixteen months earlier, the Civil War Regiment had arrived at the exact phrase without either governmental influence or governmental coercion.

Rev. M. R. Watkinson, Minister of the Gospel, Ridleysville, Del. Co., PA, in a letter dated Nov. 13, 1861, appealed to Secretary Chase for the inclusion of a religious statement on currency. He did so without prior governmental influence or coercion.

First, the Civil War caused the citizenry to be religious. Later, the government acknowledged the prevailing belief system by instituting the motto on currency.

The Civil War was a period of trauma and bloodshed. On the 'Bloodiest Day in American History' the 125th PA was subjected to 33% casualties, mostly within 20 minutes (9:00-9:20am) on September 17, 1862.[1] The Battle of Antietam was a national nightmare, and the decimation of the 125th PA was a microcosm of the slaughter.

Is anyone opposed to the presence of the Vietnam Memorial on national property? The VM can be interpreted as a memorial to 59,000 wasted human lives. Similarly, the motto "In God We Trust" can be interpreted as a memorial to a military tragedy-the slaughter of an early adopter's Regiment, the loss of 23,000 other brave souls at Antietam, and more than 600,000 military deaths during the entire Civil War. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 10:04, 12 October 2011 (UTC)

I'm afraid you have committed the all too common post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy. Just because the phrase was coined before Salmon Chase's 1863 letter does not imply that there existed any intellectual genealogy. Historians, by examining the primary source material, have long known how the phrase originated and how the motto evolved to be what it is today. It is clear that Chase, inspired by Rev. M. R. Watkinson's letter, wanted U.S. currency to reflect their shared belief that "no nation can be strong except in the strength of God, or safe except in His defense." His intent, as demonstrated by Chase's own written admissions, was to venerate a sectarian trust in God. There is no cause to believe that his intent was to memorialize the 125th regiment in any way. I welcome any evidence you have to the contrary. Best, Miguel Chavez (talk) 14:09, 25 October 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for helping me to 'sharpen my argument.' It's more important to prove that the REGIMENT WAS NOT INFLUENCED BY THE GOVERNMENT than to show that THE GOVERNMENT WAS INFLUENCED BY THE REGIMENT. As a result, I've redacted most of the 'fluff' in my prior argument.

'Veneration' is a highly connotative word, therefore, let's just agree that 1) the country was highly religious during its (arguably) worst crisis in history and 2) a vestige of the prevailing sentiment of the period, having arisen separately from the government, is honored (less loaded connotation) and preserved by the government. What precisely the prevailing belief was is unimportant; simply, the government recognized a widely prevailing belief. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 17:51, 29 October 2011 (UTC)

I agree with both your points, however I strongly disagree with your conclusion. The "prevailing sentiment" is extremely relevant to whether or not the motto violates the first amendment. Had the motto been constructed to read "In Christ we are Saved" then there would be no question that it would be in violation of the first amendment, even if the phrase was honoring a genuine national sentiment. It is however for the courts to decide whether or not "In God We Trust" is equally unlawful. Best, Miguel Chavez (talk) 04:36, 30 October 2011 (UTC)


  1. ^ "125th PA Infantry Regiment at Antietam". Retrieved 12 October 2011.

Edit warring over "atheist activists"

I, Abhishikt, and an ip have reverted this change by Anupam on November 13th and asked for discussion, but Anupam has resorted to edit warring instead. As I explained in my edit summary, the source being used does not use the term "atheist activist", so using that terminology is inappropriate. Additionally, the subtitle below the picture misrepresents its source by stating only part of the quoted section in the article prose, which also is irrelevant to the picture being displayed. Anupam, please involve the community in your edits and discuss these changes rather than simply reverting over and over. Thank you.   — Jess· Δ 02:59, 23 November 2011 (UTC)

Zorach v. Clauson

Do we have a source that shows Zorach v. Clauson is applicable here? I removed it but WP:BRD brought it back. ArtifexMayhem (talk) 00:24, 14 November 2011 (UTC)

Yes, I have a source from the American Bar Association and have inserted there. I hope this helps. With regards, AnupamTalk 00:42, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
No, not really. Your source is some non-notable attorney not talking about the national motto. I understand you want the "....we are a religious nation..." bit stuck in here, but we can't use quotes from the Court randomly. Is there anything in Aronow that might work for you? ArtifexMayhem (talk) 01:15, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for the reply User:ArtifexMayhem. Actually the reference from the academic journal of the American Bar Association is discussing the national motto. If you read the quote within the reference I added, it states 'Mr. Justice Douglas in the Zorach case referred to...the words "in God is our trust" as found in the National Anthem.' The connection is pretty explicit here. I am open to your addition of more material, however. What do you propose be added from Aronow v. United States? I look forward to your response. With regards, AnupamTalk 01:21, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
Yes the connection is explicit.... except the case is not about the motto nor is it cited by any cases that are (AFAIK). But I will leave it for comment by other editors (Although "held" will need to be changed to "opined" or "stated" because it is not something ruled on).
How about adding...

It is not easy to discern any religious significance attendant the payment of a bill with coin or currency on which has been imprinted "In God We Trust" or the study of a government publication or document bearing that slogan. In fact, such secular uses of the motto was viewed as sacrilegious and irreverent by President Theodore Roosevelt. Yet, Congress has directed such uses. While "ceremonial" and "patriotic" may not be particularly apt words to describe the category of the national motto, it is excluded from First Amendment significance because the motto has no theological or ritualistic impact. As stated by the Congressional report, it has "spiritual and psychological value" and "inspirational quality."

— 432 F. 2d 242 - Aronow v. United States the end? I think it ties in well as we already mention Roosevelt's thoughts and it pretty much covers the current jurisprudence on the topic (ultimately I don't think a separate critism section is needed; the topic is not so divisive that we couldn't get it all inline). ArtifexMayhem (talk) 02:04, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
Dear User:ArtifexMayhem, I think it's pretty evident that the statement is relevant here. Feel free to add in the quote you provided above. Also, if you prefer the word "stated" feel free to make the change. I hope this helps. Take care, AnupamTalk 02:12, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
Not really in the mood to edit war over your POV pushing. You MO will get you banned sooner or later. Enjoy your "victory". ArtifexMayhem (talk) 14:41, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

Who is Chase referred to in this article?

Who is "Chase" referred to in this article? The first mention of the name has no link, and does not have the full name. Jimaginator (talk) 20:15, 9 April 2012 (UTC)

Presumably Lincoln's Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase. Powers T 14:41, 27 April 2012 (UTC)

Move request

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: page moved. Andrewa (talk) 14:57, 5 May 2012 (UTC)

In God We TrustIn God we trust – Consistency with similar articles, e.g. English phrases, which all use sentence case, and closer to this topic, US mottos like United we stand, divided we fall or With God, all things are possible that also use sentence case. --The Evil IP address (talk) 08:22, 27 April 2012 (UTC)

  • Support. Makes sense to use sentence case here since it's not a title of anything (in this context). In God We Trust (disambiguation) may be better in title case since almost all entries on the dab page are titles. Jafeluv (talk) 09:16, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
  • Support. Lower case complies with WP:CAPS. Yet another movie of this title will be released soon,[4] so the timing is quite striking. I encourage the disclosure of relevant COIs. Kauffner (talk) 22:26, 29 April 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The actual wording is "In God We Trust".[5]Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 22:46, 29 April 2012 (UTC)
    • Your link does not support your assertion. Your link shows a resolution expressing support for the motto, not a law establishing the expression of the motto. Powers T 18:53, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
      • And your link is not the wording of a law, it's just someone's comment. You need to find the actual text of the law somewhere. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 21:43, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Strong support, the above law (36 USC § 302) makes it quite clear that sentence case is official. (talk) 19:43, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Support. In general I would caution against using the explicit text of laws to settle these disputes unless they explicitly say something like "all capitalised" or "using normal punctuation" - it's quite common for them to be typeset however the publisher thinks appropriate, and often in a different style in different versions of the official publication. In lieu of any formal statement, however, I'd go with normal English conventions (and normal WP conventions) - sentence case. Andrew Gray (talk) 21:59, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Support. If Bugs ever had even a ounce of credibility here on Wikipedia...It was lost above with the "There's no such thing as a law that runs one sentence" comment that was immediately followed by Hot Stop's link to the one sentence law that specifies the national motto as "In God we trust". Dr. Eye V. Buy (talk) 01:04, 3 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Funny, but let's try not to be personal. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 13:01, 5 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Support per HotStop. If peculiar capitalisation is not specified, use normal and consistent practice. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 13:01, 5 May 2012 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Practice of crossing out motto on currency

I think that the fact that some people cross out this motto as a form of protest is very relevant to this article, and I'm not sure why all references to the practice have been removed (most recently by an IP editor without any comment [8]). Before I add it back, I just want to ask what is the issue here? Is there any legitimate reason to exclude such information? Other sections on this talk page include references to edit warring and discussion over whether this is defacement, but why should this topic be completely removed from the article? --Joel7687 (talk) 16:35, 22 May 2013 (UTC)

House of Representatives Chamber

The motto is written between the clock and the flag.

The article should mention that the motto is also over the tribune in the House of Representatives Chamber, and since when it is there. mate2code 15:29, 2 October 2013 (UTC)

Unconstitutionality in the introduction

I've removed the unsubstantiated "(although technically unconstitutional)" statement from the introduction. It is entirely unnecessary there, especially considering that no court has deemed it unconstitutional, and it is currently a matter of great debate which is expounded on later in the article. An absolute statement like that with no substantive backing in the introduction of the article is improper. 18:00, 7 November 2007 (UTC)

While I agree it has no business being there, whether or not a court has ruled it unconstitutional is completely irrelevant.

Word wise, the constitution is a very brief document. While individuals are entitled to interpretations of the constitution and opinions about what is constitutional or unconstitutional, the supreme authority for judging what is actually constitutional is a court. While I don't personally support the Supreme Court's decision that effectively created 'Super-PACs,' the Supreme Court has ruled on the subject, and I do not dispute the constitutionality of Super-PACs, just the advisability. To say that court rulings on constitutionality are irrelevant is to say that there can be 300 million different interpretations of 'constitutionality' on a single issue, each equally valid.--Donaldecoho (talk) 00:15, 29 March 2012 (UTC)

Totally agree here. A judiciary that is for the majority Christian in the United States is not going to uphold a law which is not favorable to themselves, as religion is an issue which people often feel strongly about to historical oppression and widespread murder and basis for wars. Yes, it is quite true that just because the Supreme Court has ruled it is not unconstitutional does not mean that it is not. Slavery is illegal and always should have been patently unconstitutional when considering that the Constitution declares all men are created equal and that we should never have required a civil rights clause if we are all created equal and that "liberty and justice for all" are concepts upon which our nation is supposed to have been founded upon, yet if a person's skin color was darker than another he could be made a slave without any sort of due process.

The argument that it has no religious connotation now is totally ridiculous. It is a specious argument as if something that is unconstitutional in its inception may become lawful if some portion of society says its o.k. just because we like it that way. We may as well make a law to outlaw having brown eyes and make a mandatory punishment for the possession of such being imprisonment and confiscation of all real and personal property. It does not discriminate based upon any factor in the Civil Rights act and therefore can't be any form of illegal discrimination. It would not even violate the due process clause as we could offer a trial and if a jury or magistrate finds that you have brown eyes, which should be quite apparent upon examination in the court and not requiring eyewitnesses or expert testimony as a judge is allowed to take judicial notice of facts he would privy to as common facts which are not disputed.

When a group protests the inclusion as being religious in nature it would seem ridiculous to state that it does not. The fact that something is widely accepted should not factor as to the legality of something when it is patently proscribed by existing law as part of the constitution. If the word God was no longer in use by any existing religion, sect or denomination, then an argument could be made that it does not have any religious significance, but this is nowhere near the case. The use is not totally generic either as it specifically indicates God in the singular, indicating monotheism only and hints at only being one God at all, certainly not allowing for polytheism, animism, ancestor worship, whatever. Not only atheists argue against this. Many other world religions see the USA as being a christian nation but "officially" it is not, however those in the majority treat it as if it is a foregone conclusion. At one time slavery was as widely accepted in this country and it was never ruled by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional until the an amemndment to the constitution was ratified, which almost indicates that special circumstances had to be made for people of African descent to give them the same rights as men (indicating the belief that they are not and therefore were not ever protected by the Constitution and its previous amndments. I may not have formatted my argument in the accepted format, yet I hoped the content is not dismissed merely because it does not meet a specific format. I don't believe I have made any assertions that really need specific citations as what I've discussed is really only a matter of taking a US Civics class (history and government).

Say what? Whether the Supreme Court has ruled something unconstitutional is certainly relevant to whether it is unconstitutional. -- (talk) 00:29, 27 March 2009 (UTC)
AFAICS, the two alternative parenthetical assertions "(although technically unconstitutional)" and "(although technically constitutional)" are, in the absence of a SCOTUS ruling on the matter, both equally WP:POV and WP:OR. Even if there were a SCOTUS ruling, the assertion should be something like "in xyz v. United States, the Supreme court ruled that ...". -- Boracay Bill (talk) 02:03, 28 March 2009 (UTC)

I really don't like the current intro disclaimer: "(although in this context it is technically meaningless ceremonialism with no connection to any religious concept)" On whose authority is "in god we trust" technically meaningless? And how can "in god we trust" not have a connection to "any religious concept" - perhaps the concept of "god"?Wuicker 00:44, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

How you say? Because not everyone who believes in a god or diety is religious. And not everyone who is religious believes in a diety. God =/= Religion. The court ruling is that it has no religious meaning to the phrase. Besides, this is no "great controversy." Old conversation, I know, but I couldn't help myself. (talk) 21:17, 11 August 2010 (UTC)
I agree that saying it's un-Constitutional, or even in doubt, is a NPOV, speculative without grounds, and misleading. Whoever added "The Legality of this motto is questionable, because of the United States Constitution forbidding the government to make any law respecting the establishment of a religion" got it wrong, as our Constitution doesn't say this at all. It says "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion..." The key word here is "an," and in this context, it simply means giving preferential treatment of one religion over another, which is precisely what England did when it adopted the Church of England as its official religion. This this claim is false, I'm removing it. 08:10, 28 November 2011 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)
Agreed that it was biased, but also importantly it was not sourced in that context. I reworded the sentence and added it back in. There may be sources out there that validly challenge the legality of the motto, and if so they should be incorporated into the article. Noformation Talk 08:31, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
It's worth pointing out that "God" is not defined. God could be considered to be Mother Nature. In essence, it means nothing. I still like best the motto, "In God we trust, all others pay cash." ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 08:55, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
I do not mind the information being presented in the lede. However if it is, both perspectives should be presented. I moved the sentence to a second paragraph in the lede and gave a précis of both separationist and accomadationist viewpoints. Moreover, I've added a reference to qualify both of the statements. I hope this helps. With regards, AnupamTalk 00:40, 18 December 2011 (UTC)
I don't understand the statement "not everyone who believes in a god or diety is religious," unless this is one of those "n isn't a religion, it's a relationship" redefinition thingies. "In religious belief, a deity is a supernatural being, who may be thought of as holy, divine, or sacred. Some religions have one supreme deity, others have multiple deities of various ranks." How can one believe in a deity without being religious? This makes no sense.
I know I'm entering an ancient conversation (in Internet Time, anyway), but I just saw this. I'd be interested to see an explanation of how one can believe in a deity without being religious. I know it's possible to go the other way (Buddhism, for example), to be religious without believing in a deity, but believing in a deity is ipso facto religious belief.
*Septegram*Talk*Contributions* 16:15, 21 November 2013 (UTC)