The House of Representatives passed a bi-partisan resolution Tuesday night reaffirming “In God We Trust” as the official motto of the United STates. The 396-9 vote came at the request of Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA) – in part over President Obama’s refusal to correct remarks he made that misstated the motto as “E pluribus unum” instead of “In God We Trust.”
Lawmakers voting against “In God We Trust” include Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY), Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich), Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA), Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA), Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), and Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA). Voting present were Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Rep. Melvin Watt (D-NC).
The bi-partisan resolution not only affirms “In God We Trust” as the national motto, but it also “encourages its display in public buildings and government institutions.”
“There’s been no motto in U.S. history that’s been more inspirational than ‘In God We Trust,’” he said, noting that he felt it was appropriate for members of Congress to “firmly declare our trust in God.”
The vote was immediately condemned by the American Humanist Association who said it ignored non-believers.
“This is an open attack on Thomas Jefferson’s wall of church-state separation,” executive director Roy Speckhardt said in a written statement. “to place such religious language on public buildings is not only unconstitutional, it signals to the millions of non-religious Americans that they are second-class citizens.”
Forbes said the motto has been under attack over the past three years, noting a “disturbing trend of inaccuracies and omissions, misunderstandings of church and state, rogue court challenges and efforts to remove God from the public domain by unelected bureaucrats.”
“There are a very small number of people, but unfortunately very vocal people who really want to attack faith in every element of the nation,” Forbes said. “But we’re not going to go quietly into the night.”
Forbes said he was especially disturbed by an incident involving President Obama.
Last November, during a speech he delivered in Jakarta, the president stated that the national motto was “E pluribus unum.
Forbes said 42 members of Congress sent President Obama a letter asking him to correct the error.
“Not only did the president refuse to respond to our letter, but still on the White House website they have up the incorrect national motto,” Forbes told Fox News. “It does concern us.”
Forbes also pointed out what he called inaccuracies and omissions in the new Capitol Visitor Center. He accused historians of sanitizing “the public building of an references to our national motto – including replacing the inscription of ‘In God We Trust,’ inscribed above the Speaker’s Rostrum with stars in a replica of the House Chamber – and cropping an actual picture of the chamber so you could not see the words ‘In God We Trust.’’
The omissions were later corrected after Congress intervened, Forbes said.
Speckhardt called on the Senate to reject the resolution — calling it “harmful.”
“A clear message was sent by those who voted for this resolution’s passage that secular Americans do not deserve to be considered eligible for our constitution’s equal protection guarantees,” he wrote. “Such protections are seriously eroded whenever the bulwark between church and state is breached.”