Congressional Prayer Caucus Chides Obama: E Pluribus Unum Is Not Our National Motto

If you Google the Latin phrase E Pluribus Unum, about 481,000 results pop up. Most of the first 20 or so (I didn’t take the time to check past the second page) state that E Pluribus Unum is a motto found on our Great Seal, and was proposed by Benjamin Franklin, John Adams,  and Thomas Jefferson in 1776. It was never put into law by Congress, however, and In God We Trust was designated the official national motto by an act of Congress in 1956.

This wouldn’t be news except in November our President said in a speech to some college students in Indonesia that the United States Motto was E PluribusUnum. This was so upsetting to the Congressional Prayer Caucus that 42 Congressmen issued a press release and sent a letter to President Obama educating him about our national motto. They also mention the problem with Obama omitting “our Creator” from the Declaration of Independence, not once but twice which, “creates a pattern.”

This is not a singular problem with our President (who should know what our national motto is), but with many children who are not learning the truth about our heritage. I was blessed to graduate from Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas. There, the history textbook was full of the real historical truth about our Christian roots.

One of the young women in my church asked for prayer while she’s going to college because her professors are blatantly vocal against all things Christian. She asked for spiritual protection. To me, that is scary because it seems the norm is trending toward freedom of speech and religion applies to all things non-Christian; and Christians who desire an education had better be firmly rooted in their Bible and their faith or they will be sucked into the secular blender.

Be First to Comment

  1. said:

    I don’t know… Isn’t it an ultra shame that presidents don’t know what the national motto is? Or that they misspeak? It just proves my point even more that our education system is sadly lacking. Why are we okay with it as it is? China has far surpassed us in education, and the Chinese place an extremely high value on it. We Americans seem to just slog along. When are we going to wake up?

    December 8, 2010
    Reply
  2. DonSetay said:

    I wouldn’t blame it on the education system. E Pluribus Unum is and has been America’s de facto national motto since its founding, just as English has been its de facto official language. Our founding fathers never found any need for formalizing such things. They were only formalized later for political reasons. 1) The Pledge of Allegiance was written for a one-time event to in 1896 to celebrate the World’s Fair (and certainly did not contain ‘God’) 2) “In God We Trust” was not required to be put on money until the 1930s and Theodore Roosevelt even refused to do so because he found putting “God” on money of all things was sacrilegious. 3) The US didn’t have a National Anthem until after WWI and not surprisingly chose the war song over America the Beautiful given the context. 4) Adding ‘God’ to the Pledge of Allegiance and ‘In God We Trust’ as official had less to do with religious faith than the cold war conflict with “the Godless Soviet Union” But, don’t forget that the only justification for keeping ‘God’ on the money and in the motto has been that ‘God’ in this instance does not have a religious connotation; but that it is a saying that has lost its meaning through repetition. If the Prayer Caucus’ insistence that the ‘God’ in those cases is a religious symbol was right then it would clearly be unconstitutional. See, “In God We Trust” inherently must have nothing to do with God, if it does then it is a state recognition of religion which is against the First Amendment. There’s a reason that the Constitution makes only one reference to religion and that is to keep the state away from it. Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence which is most often cited for using the word Creator, is the very person who also came up with the phrase “separation of church and state”

    December 8, 2010
    Reply
  3. said:

    Actually the first amendment does not say that government shall not recognize God. It says, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. Thomas Jefferson did recognized God as mankind’s Creator; and that God is the One who gives the inalienable rights. “In God We Trust” first appeared on money in 1864. December 9, 1863 – Secretary Chase approved the proposal of the Director of the Philadelphia for the mottoes on United States coins. However, he suggested that �God, Our Trust� be changed to �In God We Trust�. March 3, 1865 – An Act of Congress authorized the placement of the motto In God We Trust on any gold or silver coins. The director of the mint was given the power to place the motto at his discretion. However, the Secretary of the Treasury could overrule the director. Which is why “In God We Trust” is on the edge of the $1.00 coin instead of on the face side as on the other coins. http://www.treasury.gov/about/history/Pages/1800-1899.aspx I learned that in 11th grade American History. It truly is the fault of the educational system. So many parents (and teachers) in my area of the country claim we must pick and choose what goes in text books because they are so heavy. With technology today, kids don’t have to lug around 60 pounds of books anymore. A laptop will suffice and a website with all the text of textbooks would not only save the kids’ backs, but would be much cheaper both in updating as well as saving a school system thousands, if not millions, of dollars.

    December 8, 2010
    Reply
  4. DonSetay said:

    In all honesty, I could really care less what our National Motto is, but it is quite obvious that our founding fathers chose E Pluribus Unum, and for good reason. By denying this, you’re doing the same picking and choosing that you openly deplore. Yes, Thomas Jefferson believed in a creator, as did most people at the time. There was yet no alternative explanation available. Here are Jefferson’s thoughts on the First Amendment: “Believing that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their Legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church and State” (Letter to the Danbury Baptists, 1802). Like myself, Jefferson saw religious devotion as an individual’s decision and something that should not be forced on anyone to recognize. The difference was that at the time everyone was assumed to be of some religion or another. Complete atheists were almost unheard of and agnostics were more concerned about which god must be the right one. Scientific explanations had not been thought of yet. Having “In God We Trust” as the national motto makes a clear endorsement of religion if “God” is in fact a religious symbol. With this in mind, the justification for keeping it was “”From this it is easy to deduce that the Court concluded that the primary purpose of the slogan was secular; it served as secular ceremonial purpose in the obviously secular function of providing a medium of exchange.” “Madalyn Murray O’Hair, et al. v. W. Michael Blumenthal, Secretary of Treasury, et al.” 588 F.2d 1144 (1979) “In God We Trust” first appeared on money in the 1860’s, as you pointed out, but it was not a requirement and only appeared on one coin. This happened during the Civil War when both the North and the South were claiming God to be on their side which is simply a continuation of centuries of church infighting inherited from Europe. The law requiring all money be marked with “In God We Trust” was in 1956 (http://www.treasury.gov/about/history/Pages/1900-Present.aspx), the law making “In God We Trust” as the national motto was also 1956, the law putting “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance was in 1954. Why all the additions of ‘God’ in just a couple years? A sudden Reawakening? Or perhaps it was because it was during the middle of McCarthyism and McCarthy would use any disbelief in religion as a Glenn-Beck-esque connection to Communism and we all know what happened to you if you were on McCarthy’s list. Strange how both of those were signed into law during election years. Perhaps that part was left out of the heavy history book as well. I’ll give you credit that the America was partly founded by religious fundamentalist, but don’t forget that the Pilgrims were as conservative as the Taliban (as in beatings, prohibition of fun, women as inferior, burning people at the stake), and there was a reason they were kicked out of England. And, we can’t forget the first people who landed here raped and killed in the name of God, but they made South America Catholic (though it required killing 90% of the native population and destroying their history). Yes, there’s a lot missing from our textbooks and we should all be open to learning what we may have not learned before. But, that’s a two-way street. We ALL need to do that.

    December 8, 2010
    Reply
  5. said:

    Actually, it was a clear recognition of God the Creator. Religion is a man made thing, and one can do anything religiously such as brushing teeth or exercising religiously. **but don’t forget that the Pilgrims were as conservative as the Taliban (as in beatings, prohibition of fun, women as inferior, burning people at the stake), and there was a reason they were kicked out of England.** Comparing the Pilgrims to the Taliban is outrageous. The men did not rape women as the Taliban do, or keep women prisoners, or cut out their tongues, beat them or treat them as cattle. Life was hard in the New World and, if for no other reason, the men knew they had to have help to make things work here. Besides, more than half of them died that first year. They did not call themselves Pilgrims, but Separatists. They were not “kicked out” of Europe, they chose to leave England and settled in Holland sometime in the early 1600s, then chose to leave for the New World in 1620. Have you ever wondered why they felt compelled to leave the Church of England? You mustn’t confuse the Separatists with the Puritans, which I think you are doing. The Separatists found the corruption of the Catholic Church ensconced in England just rolled over into the Church of England and since it was illegal for a British citizen to attend a different church than the official one which had exchanged the Pope for the King, they could not stay true to their faith and remain in England. The United States was more than partly formed with Christian and Biblical principles. Cruise over to http://www.wallbuilders.com and see what real, unadulterated history is.

    December 9, 2010
    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.