On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives reaffirmed “In God We Trust” as the official motto of the United States, passing the measure with a 396-9 vote.
The resolution, which was introduced by Rep. J. Randy Forbes, supports and encourages the public display of the 1956 motto in all public buildings, public schools and other government institutions.
Forbes, who serves as Chairman of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, said he sponsored the measure in order to provide “clarity amidst a cloud of confusion about our nation’s spiritual heritage.”
“A growing, disturbing pattern of inaccuracy and omissions regarding the motto has arisen in the public square, from speeches made by the president of the United States in foreign nations (Last year, President Obama cited “E pluribus unum” as the nation’s motto in a speech in Indonesia), to the sanitization of ‘In God We Trust‘ from the half-billion-dollar Capitol Visitor Center by American historians,” Mr. Forbes explained in a statement to the press, alluding to an effort by historians to prevent the motto from being engraved at the center.
Following the resolution’s approval, Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., one of the nine lawmakers to oppose the motto, called the measure “unconstitutional,” adding that congresses time would be better spent focusing on the nations larger problems, such as the economy, failing public schools and poverty.
“Instead of facing these challenges and creating jobs to help American people make sure they have a roof over their head and food on their table, we are debating whether or not to affirm and proliferate a motto that was adopted in 1956 and is under no threat of attack,” he said.
The phrase In God We Trust has appeared on U.S. coins since 1864 and on paper currency since 1957. It was conceived by Salmon P. Chase, the U.S. Treasury Secretary under President Abraham Lincoln.
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