Oct 31 2011

Randy Forbes’s Resolution to Shove “In God We Trust” in Everybody’s Faces to be Voted on Tomorrow

Hey everybody, I just found out that H. Con. Res. 13, Rep. Randy Forbes’s (R-VA) resolution “Reaffirming ‘In God We Trust’ as the official motto of the United States and supporting and encouraging the public display of the national motto in all public buildings, public schools, and other government institutions,” is going to be voted on tomorrow.

I talked about this resolution back in May when I made the preview episode of my “This Week In Christian Nationalism” podcast (which I promise witll be launched soon — really — I mean it this time).

In that preview video, I explained that although five members of the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution had objected to this resolution, and even went as far as attaching a dissent to the report of the committee, the committee did order this thing to go to the floor for a vote. This is what is happening now.

I’ve taken this week off from MRFF to work on finishing up Volume 2 of Liars For Jesus, and I don’t want to get sidetracked from that by writing something new about this resolution, but I did want people to know about this since it’s being voted on tomorrow, so here’s my video from May where I talked about it (jump to about 5:30 into the video).

The full text of the resolution can be found here.

The American Humanist Association has put up an action alert here, so please go and add your name to their “Reject House Continuing Resolution 13″ message being sent to the members of Congress. (This is really easy to do, unlike the WhiteHouse.gov petition from last week — I swear, it will just take you a minute.)


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  1. 1

    Strange… I have been noticing (probably just my noticing, rather than an actual uptick) an uptick in one particular stupid thing that gets said to atheists on internet comment threads. Again and again, I see “look in your wallet–your money says ‘IN GOD WE TRUST’, and any atheist who uses money is a hypocrite!”

    The very notion of “ceremonial deism” that supposedly lets this pass constitutional muster is shown false by Forbes, and by these internet pinheads. In practice, “IN GOD WE TRUST” is not mere ceremony; it is being used as a talking point to attempt to make atheists second class citizens.

  2. 2
    Chris Rodda

    I actually cross out “In God We Trust” with a Sharpie on every bill that passes through my hands. Maybe we should start a campaign to do this. If every atheist and other person who believes in church/state separation did it, there would be a hell of a lot of money floating around with it crossed out!

    What’s weird is that the slogan being on our money wouldn’t really bother people nearly as much as it does if it wasn’t for what you said in your comment, Cuttlefish — that it’s the thing that’s always brought up as proof that we’re a Christian nation, and all those people saying that anyone who disagrees with it but spends money is a hypocrite.

  3. 3

    The very fact that I don’t give away all my money, disown my family and friends and follow Jesus makes me not a Christian. Having money in your pocket is anathema to Christ. So is loving your family. Shove that in your pipe and smoke it, rich, family values having a-holes.

    “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters–yes, even his own life–he cannot be my disciple…..… In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26, 33)

  4. 4

    I cross out the God phrase on my money too. It’s childish and pointless but I do it anyway, to “witness” my support of separation of church and state.

  5. 5
    spamamander, internet amphibian

    Sadly, the petition would be directed to Doc Hastings as my Representative… and I know it would just get tossed. Old conservative bastard that he is.

  6. 6

    What ever happened to “E. Pluribus Unum” as a motto? I would think that should be the one to vote on instead of this gawd crap.

    And I cross it out on my bills too. I have considered a way to deface coins while I am at it too, but would want a machine for that.

  7. 7

    I don’t have much hope from my part of the world but I sent the note anyway. It may seem as useful as buying a lottery ticket but sending nothing leaves us out of the game entirely.

  8. 8

    I didn’t add my name to this particular petition, but I have written my Congressman about it with my personal reasons for opposing the resolution.

  9. 9

    Viz. crossing out “In God We Trust” on U.S. currency (a.k.a. Federal Reserve Notes):

    18 U.S.C. § 333 : US Code – Section 333: Mutilation of national bank obligations

    Whoever mutilates, cuts, defaces, disfigures, or perforates, or unites or cements together, or does any other thing to any bank
    bill, draft, note, or other evidence of debt issued by any national
    banking association, or Federal Reserve bank, or the Federal
    Reserve System, with intent to render such bank bill, draft, note,
    or other evidence of debt unfit to be reissued, shall be fined
    under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.

    Did you intend to “render the note unfit to be reissued”? Only your trial jury knows for sure!

    Same thing about U.S. coinage at § 331.

  10. 10
    Chris Rodda

    Whenever I’ve posted about doing this before (which has been many times because I’ve been doing it — and encouraging others to do it — for years), somebody always quotes that law, and this is always my answer:

    Of course my intent isn’t to “render the note unfit to be reissued.” The whole point is for other people who get these bills to see it crossed out, so I would obviously want them to stay in circulation as long as possible. I think it would be pretty hard for someone to argue that my intent is to render them unfit to reissue. That would completely defeat the purpose of crossing the slogan out.

  11. 11

    I think that we all face this dilemma when we are asked to sign petitions-which I will illustrate: My Congressman is Representative Steve Cohen, Democrat, District 9, TN., I personally know Steve, and know that he is a very liberal Jewish man, who is a strong supporter of separation of church and state. So, do I send him this petition, when I know that he will vote against the resolution anyway (I did send it)?

    On the other hand, if my congressperson was a conservative Republican, would sending him a petition to vote no on a resolution that I know he supports persuade him to vote against it? My experience with similar situations leads me to conclude that the answer is no, it will not.

    Regarding marking money: I have been doing it for over twenty years! Everyone of us in the secular community should be using our right to free speech to protest this unconstitutional infraction. Just marking through the motto is not enough, get a stamp made with a message on it like, “Federal endorsement of a deity or religion violates the U.S. Constitution.” It is not childish! It is the right and responsible thing to do!

    Regarding the law and the code that posted above: I spoke directly with a Treasury department employee(TDE), who likewise quoted the above statute to me as support for his assertion that I was violating the law. At that time, which was near twenty years ago, I was doing business with a local company, which refused to accept my legal tender as payment for services rendered because of my stamped money. They had contacted the Treasury Department, who according to them had given them the go ahead to refuse to accept my payment. At that point I contacted the Treasury Dept. and began the debate with said TDE. The gist of it is that defacement is defined in the code and stamping a message on legal tender is not defacement-it is free speech.

    At the time I gave the TDE my name and address and dared him to come and arrest me because I knew then and know now that if someone in the secular community could get arrested for stamping money then that person would “have standing” to bring a federal case to challenge the unconstitutional “IGWT” motto. The way that the Supreme Court has so far avoided ruling on challenges to IGWT has been to deny any petitioner standing to sue.

    One idea that I have to overcome this is for someone, like you Chris, or an organization like the Secular Coalition for America to send a one dollar bill, stamped with the message I suggested above to every member of Congress, then wait and see if the one, several or a group of the more reactionary members didn’t take some action to have that person or group arrested and thereby that person or group would then have standing to sue.

  12. 12

    This is a “I went and showed them a thing or two while I was in Washington” opportunity for the GOP Rep from Virginia .
    What will people like that guy come up with next?

  13. 13

    @9 You’ve never heard of http://www.wheresgeorge.com/ ? A Sharpie crossing out a word, or a Where’s George stamp isn’t making the bill unusable.

  14. 14

    Don’t just cross out the phrase, make a positive statement by substituting “reason” for “God” – In Reason We Trust.

    This phrase is much more in tune with the Enlightenment principles that the founders espoused and is consistent with the Constitution and its principles. It is also consistent with many more liberal and humanistic Christian traditions.

    Reason encompasses science and a material worldview as well as theological and religious inquiry.

    It is a far greater signal and forward vision of hope in humanity and a strong, united and vital nation than a shear reliance on a fear of god that has served as many a rascal, thief and idiot as it has those who seek a better moral sentiment of the human condition.

    As such In Reason We Trust is commensurate with the original ideas of American unity and the individual right of conscience suggested by E pluribus unum, Latin for “Out of many, one,” that the colonial revolutionaries fought, shed blood for, and died for.

  15. 15

    I’m sure you’re correct dochopper. If I were a constituent of the representative, I would be insulted at his attempt to impress me with such simplistic crap, however most of his voters are probably impressed with his simple minded jingoistic nonsense.

    Spamamander; Froster of Cupcakes – I agree that old Doc Hastings,true political machine, would ignore the petition. I have written Hastings many letters politely asking him to reconsider some of his positions, but all I’ve heard back was one computer generated form letter saying nothing.

  16. 16
    Kevin, 友好火猫 (Friendly Fire Cat)

    I prefer E Pluribus Unum anyway because it does the exact opposite of what In God We Trust.

    EPU states unity, a common thread between the peoples of this country. I can see many different ideas here, “out of many” [states / peoples / countries / religions / backgrounds / races / ideas / dreams] “one” country.

    IGWT separates the people into the “ins” and “outs” where the “ins” are Christians and the “outs” are non-Christians and non-believers.

  17. 17

    I too black out the word god. However I feel blacking it totally out or replacing it with truth does not do what is needed. I put the word Allah instead of god. that plum pisses off the Xians to no end. While they may take no offense or even pay attention to the crossed out part, putting Allah in there really pisses them off. Putting Odin or Zues does not work only the threat of the Muslims god (even though supposedly they are the same god, go figure) gets them into an uproar. if more people did that Xians would be screaming to get it off money. They cant have little Bobby or Suzy reading Allah is god.

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