On this day in 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs a law making “In God We Trust” the national motto. His action came just two years after he signed a law adding “Under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance.
“As he signed the 1954 law, [President Eisenhower] explained the importance of such actions: ‘[W]e are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America’s heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country’s most powerful resource, in peace or in war.’
“Eisenhower made an even stronger statement a year later. In 1955, he observed: ‘Without God, there could be no American form of Government, nor an American way of life. Recognition of the Supreme Being is the first — the most basic — expression of Americanism. Thus the Founding Fathers saw it, and thus, with God’s help, it will continue to be.'”
I am reminded of John Adams’ quote: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” O, how the mighty have fallen! As Tara so accurately puts it in the essay linked above,
“In this country, of course, no one is forced into any particular religion. We are free to be religious — or we are free *not* to be religious. However, an honest assessment of our history shows that much of our founding was steeped in religious roots. And our national motto reflects that fact.”