America has two mottos, the first is “E Pluribus Unum” proposed by John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson in 1776, and adopted in 1782. It is a Latin phrase that means “Out of many, One”. Which by its very nature includes all Americans. It leaves no one out. This motto is part of the Great Seal of the United States.
Our second motto is, “In God We Trust”. It was adopted in 1956, during the Second Red Scare and that period of McCarthyism where America was reacting to the “Godless Soviets”. It is a motto enacted out of fear. This second motto is inherently divisive, since it divides those Americans who do not believe in a God, who do not believe in one god, or who do not agree that the God of America is a Christian God (as opposed to Hindu or Islamic).
This has led to secular efforts to remove God from American money.
I say that this is no longer necessary. God is on very little of my money.
Let me explain.
You can find lots of people online who will exclaim, “You don’t like ‘God’ on your money? Then give it all to me!”
Yes, this is a “Gotcha” statement by immature people who believe they are being clever. But the reality is, lots of people – maybe most – just don’t carry that much “God” money on us.
Let us assume that I would be willing to transfer to you all the money in my possession that has “God” printed on it, if you would agree to transfer all the money in your possession that does NOT have “God” printed on it.
Let me look around. I’ve got $40 in two twenties that I’ll use to pay the gentleman who cuts my grass. I’ve got a couple dollars, and about three dollars in quarters. There may be an additional few dollars in pennies, nickles and dimes around my house. All together, it is probably less than $60 total – and that’s being generous.
But what about my bank account you ask?
I have several bank accounts for various reasons. I’ll look at the statement for my “personal allowance” account for March of this year. I deposit money in this account as my personal allowance, that I allow myself to use for things like eating out, buying toys or books, or shopping online. At the end of March I had a balance of $323.15.
In my statement, there are no photographs of this money. My online statement is more up-to-date than my printed statement, but even this lacks a hyperlink to images of my money. I can’t point you to the actual hundreds, twenties, and ones that make up the balance of this account. That is because as long as it is in my bank account, it does not refer to bills or coins, but is instead merely numbers in a computer accounting system.
But surely those numbers are backed by actual paper and coin?
No. According to the Federal Reserve, the numbers in my bank account are backed by collateral – collateral chiefly represented by government securities. So perhaps some of the numbers in my bank account are backed by Gold or Silver, but more likely, they are backed by the National Debt of the United States – which is also columns of numbers in an accounting system.
Nowhere in these columns of numbers does “God” appear.
When I go shopping, whether to purchase gum, gasoline, or a new roof for my house, I don’t pay with god-based money. Instead I pay with a debit card, a credit card, or in very rare cases – a cashier’s check, money order, or personal check. None of these forms of payment have the words, “In God We Trust” on them.
In fact, I’m allowed to personalize my credit card. So I put a “terrible atheist” symbol on it. One that has been in use for over 130 years to represent secular, humanist, and atheist causes. I branded my atheist credit card with a field of Pansies. Every time I use it to purchase something, I am literally paying with atheist money. (Well, atheist credit, at least!) And at the end of the month, I make my accounts balance by going online to my credit card company, and transferring a column of numbers from my bank account to my credit card account.
No God involved.
So you can see that my bank accounts, my mortgage account, my retirement accounts, and my credit card account have no dealing with God or gods. They are not representing, nor represented by a deity. They are merely numbers in differing accounts, held by a polite fiction that our society has agreed to pretend means something.
So if I give you the approximately $60 that I have in Federal Reserve banknotes and coins that have “In God We Trust” printed on it, then you should give me all the money you have that does NOT have “God” printed on it. All those numbers in columns in your bank account.
No, you won’t have to purchase banknotes to do this – I have my own debit / credit card reader. They are free to get, and easy to use!
Or, I’ll happily take a cashier’s check.