Summary: This message is our declaration as a Church relating to the recent Supreme Court decision relating to same-sex marriage.
In God We Trust!
Scriptures: Proverbs 3:5
The title of my message this morning is “In God We Trust.”
Proverbs 3:5 says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
In you examine our currency you will find the words, “In God We Trust.” Those words did not get on our currency by accident. This declaration was placed on our currency largely because of the increased religious sentiment (feelings and opinions) that existed during the Civil War. The Secretary of the Treasury Salmon Chased received many appeals from devout persons throughout the country urging that the United States recognize God Almighty on United States coins. From Treasury Department records, it appears that the first such appeal came in a letter dated November, 13, 1861. It was written to Secretary Chase by Rev. M.R. Watkinson, minister of the Chapel from Ridleyville, PA. Here is an excerpt from that letter: “….One fact touching our currency has hitherto been seriously overlooked, I mean the recognition of the Almighty God in some form on our coins. You are probably a Christian. What if our Republic were not shattered beyond reconstruction? Would not the antiquaries of succeeding centuries rightly reason from our past that we were a heathen nation?” After making his recommendation, Rev. Watkinson closed with “This would relieve us from the ignominy of heathenism. This would place us openly under the Divine protection we have personally claimed. From my hearth I have felt our national shame in disowning God as not the least of our present national disasters.”
As a result of this letter, on November 20, 1861, Mr. Chase instructed the director of the Mint at Philadelphia to prepare a motto. In his memo he stated “No nation can be strong except in the strength of God, or safe except in His defense. The trust of our people in God should be declared on our national coins…” Because the Act of Congress, dated January 18, 1837, prescribed the mottoes and devices that should be placed upon the coins of the United States, the mint could make no changes without the enactment of additional legislation by the Congress. After the final words were selected, the Congress passed the Act on April 22, 1864. More legislation was passed in the subsequent years to add the declaration on all United States currency. The use of “In God We Trust” has not been uninterrupted since it first appeared on the one-cent coin. A law was passed by the 84th Congress and approved by the President on July 30, 1956 declaring “In God We Trust” as the national motto of the United States. “In God We Trust” was first used on paper in 1957.
Why is this historically important? Because the “founding fathers” of this nation were Christians – most were of the Protestant faith. While many mistakes were made throughout history as this nation continued to evolve, the core belief was that we were a nation who as a whole believed in and trusted God. The declaration “In God We Trust” being added to our currency was a last declaration of what this nation would be. It was to stand so that centuries later when others viewed this nation it would be recognized as a God fearing nation, not a heathen nation.
I. The Declaration of Independence
When the Declaration of Independence was written, it was written by men who had a foundational belief in God and that His laws should provide guidance for man’s laws. There are five references to God in the Declaration of Independence, two in the first paragraph, one in the middle, and two at the last.
1st & 2nd References: “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.” Who is responsible for the “Laws of Nature” but God? Natural Law to the founding fathers was defined as the “laws of the Creator.” From the Laws of Nature sprang the awareness of natural law, understood by early philosophers to be a source of higher law that never changes.” In the 1st Century B/C., Cicero, a Roman politician described it best when he wrote, “Nor may any other law override it, nor may it be repealed as a whole or in part….Nor is it one thing at Rome and another at Athens, one thing today and another tomorrow, but one eternal and unalterable law, that binds all nations forever.”