In the continuous acquiescence of local government municipalities mixing church with state, the Jefferson County Police Department of Illinois has recently elected to place the words, “In God We Trust” on their police vehicles. This act, among many like it across the country, is a stark contradiction to the First Amendment of the US Constitution, which states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”
No religion or its rhetoric should be promoted by a government agency. It sets a dangerous precedent to allow the promotion of God to infiltrate public services; it favors those religions and people within those religions, alienating anyone that may not subscribe to the existence of God and the connotations associated with that term. We don’t all trust in God, nor should we be indoctrinated in any wayto do so. By promoting this quote on police vehicles, it impedes upon religious freedom; although however slight it may appear to do so, its allowance and the negligence of it is dangerous.
President George Washington wrote in a letter to Sir Edward Newenham, dated October 20, 1792, “of all the animosities which have existed among mankind those which are caused by difference of sentiments in religion appear to be the most inveterate and distressing and ought most to be deprecated.” The second President of the United States, John Adams, approved the Treaty of Tripoli in 1797 written by John Barlow, which reads in Article 11, “the government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.” The use of this motto referencing “God” on government property forces a dogma on every American that they may not agree with. Throughout history the blend of religion with government has acted as a poison utilized by authority for manipulative purposes. Britain was under the false assumption they held the divine authority to rule over the colonies.
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“This is our national motto, it’s on every bit of our currency, it’s important, it’s the moral fabric of what our country’s made of,” Jefferson Co. sheriff Travis Allen said. What Allen refers to is the 1956 law signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower that made the national motto, “In God We Trust.” The motto was ruled in the 1970 case, Aronow v. United States, to not violate the constitution by the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The law and motto are outdated relics of a less progressive and civil rights bearing United States. The motto is long overdue for a ruling on the issue by the US Supreme Court. The moral fabric of what this country is made of is not based on any religion and shouldn’t be, as favoring any particular religion over another is a sheer precursor to bigotry and prejudices.
Harvard biologist EO Wilson writes in his book, The Meaning of Human Existence, “in every second of the religious believer’s conscious life, religious belief plays multiple, mostly nurturing roles. All the followers are unified into a vastly extended family, a metaphorical band of brothers and sisters, reliable, obedient to one supreme law, and guaranteed immortality as the benefit of membership.” He adds, “Throughout prehistory and most of history, people needed religion to explain the occurrence of most phenomena around them. God was the cause and effect required for sanity. The great religions are also, and tragically, sources of ceaseless and unnecessary suffering. They are impediments to the grasp of reality needed to solve most social problems in the real world.”
The use of the motto, “In God We Trust” favors those who believe in God above everyone else, thereby discriminating against those that do not subscribe to God. The United States was not built on incorporating God into its laws and public service departments; it was ideologically built on nonpartisanship and freedom, and although those freedoms lay victim to frequent injustices, let us not leave the door open for further inequalities to manifest through the promotion of Christianity in government.