By Loren Seibold –
Perhaps you’ve seen reports of the new United States $100 bill, with new and improved anti-counterfeiting features. I like it. I’ve been surprised at the number of people who’ve objected to it’s colorfulness. “It looks too much like the Euro” many comment. Anything having to do with US currency brings out our paranoia, and the theory that we’re going to be forced into a regional currency like the Euro has been floating around for awhile among the gold-hoarding crowd.
(In fact, our bills are amateurs in the currency color-and-design competition. Take a look at Kazahkstan’s amazing bills, which look like something you’d see on a canvas in MOMA.)
The other question was whether it would still say “In God We Trust”. It does. In spite of constitutional challenges, that phrase or a variation of it has been on currency since the Civil War, and in fact a bill making “In God We Trust” our national motto (replacing E pluribus unum, favored by the nation’s founders) was signed into law by President Eisenhower in 1956. Since then any rumor of its removal from money has been met with objections, although atheists and constitutional church-state separationists continue to challenge it, as late as last month. Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 9.13.38 AM
77% of US currency is held in $100 bills, much of it outside the US. Perhaps some think this is a way to advertise our faith overseas. ($100 bills are often unusable here because of the number of stores that refuse to take them.)
As a religious libertarian, I would gladly dispense with “In God We Trust” from the currency, as I would anything having to do with my God or any other, from civil life. I’ve seen nothing but bigotry, shallow thinking, misinformation and general stupidity emerge from those that want to see the United States return to what they claim (falsely) is its roots as a Christian nation. I much prefer living in a secular nation that gives me complete freedom to be a Christian.
Beyond the constitutional questions, I don’t see the need to advertise God on our money. God should be advertised by the lives of his followers. Promoting God on the item that most competes with God for our worship strikes me as too ironic to be taken seriously.
[box]Loren Seibold attended Walla Walla College, Andrews University Theological Seminary, and in 1999 earned a D.Min. from the San Francisco Theological Seminary. He has served churches in North Dakota, South Dakota, California, and is currently a pastor in the Ohio Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. He has written for several magazines, including Signs of the Times, Ministry and the Adventist Review, and is also the editor of Best Practices for Adventist Ministry – a resource newsletter for pastors.
He blogs at LorenSeibold.com and Faith In Context where this article first appeared. [/box]