House Reaffirms 'In God We Trust' as National Motto
By an overwhelming majority (396-9), the GOP-controlled U.S. House passed a bipartisan resolution that essentially declares that our national motto is still our national motto.
"In God We Trust," or variants thereof, is a phrase that has been in circulation nearly as long as America's founding. But the words weren't officially adopted as the national motto until 1956.
Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., said he introduced the resolution to combat what he calls "a cloud of confusion" about America's spiritual heritage.
"A growing, disturbing pattern of inaccuracy and omissions regarding the motto has arisen in the public square from speeches made by the president of the United States ... to the sanitization of 'In God We Trust' from the half-billion dollar Capitol Visitor Center," Forbes said in a statement released shortly after his resolution won approval.
Forbes co-chairs the Congressional Prayer Caucus whose 100 members supported the resolution. In December 2010, the caucus called on President Obama to correct himself after mistakenly saying "E pluribus unum" - Latin for "out of many one" - was our national motto.
Despite its abundant support, opponents characterized the effort as a divisive waste of time.
[It's] already the official motto of the United States, writes Lauren Youngblood, of the Secular Coalition for America, an advocacy group that represents atheists, agnostics, and humanists.
"In raising this issue yet again, Republicans in the House are throwing a red herring to inflame culture wars and draw the focus off of fixing the economy."
So just how controversial was this measure? Another look at the numbers shows that it was far from controversial. Only nine lawmakers voted against it; however, two members did not categorically take a stand on the issue. Instead, they simply voted "present."