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The Values We All Stand For

By Evid3nc3 --

NOTE 1: "In God We Trust" first started to appear on a few US coins during the Civil War. However, the motives for these inclusions were entirely different in nature. At that time, there were, to my knowledge, no active atheists in American culture. The inclusion of "In God We Trust" on US coins was gradual and met with resistance by prominent American theists, such as Theodore Roosevelt, as being sacrilegious.

Enlargement of the 20-dollar bill. Enlargement...Image via Wikipedia

By comparison, the 1957 changes were drastic, sweeping, and specifically invoked to combat the atheism of the Soviet Union. Before, some coins were allowed to not have the phrase and no paper bills had it; after, ALL American money, both coin and paper were REQUIRED to contain the slogan. Further, the changes in the pledge and the motto happened almost simultaneously with this change.

These changes were overtly anti-atheist in nature: "In these days when imperialistic and materialistic Communism seeks to attack and destroy freedom, it is proper" to "remind all of us of this self-evident truth" that "as long as this country trusts in God, it will prevail."

NOTE 2: "annuit cœptis" ["He (God) has favored our undertakings"] first appeared on the US seal in 1782. Again, there were, to my knowledge, no active atheists in American culture at that time. The inclusion appears to be largely impersonal and deistic in nature. Given its historical meaning and lack of anti-atheist sentiment, I personally would not necessarily be opposed to its continued inclusion. It does however, appear to be arrogant and supportive of the American imperialism that fueled such atrocities as the Indian Massacres.

NOTE 3: The origins of references to God in the federal government are largely irrelevant to the points made in the video starting at 1:23. No matter where these references came from, they exclude the identities of a large population of contributing Americans from the national identity. A government that we all create together should not include language that explicitly excludes any of us.

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