- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 30, 2016

Sixty years ago this Saturday, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed into law a declaration that “In God We Trust” become the official motto of the United States, according to the website for the History Channel.

The law required the motto, which had appeared on various U.S. coins dating back to the Civil War, to be phased into use on all currency whether paper or coin.

According to a website for the U.S. Treasury Department, the first time the phrase was place on U.S. coinage was in 1864, on the 2-cent piece, a coin no longer minted. It then appeared on various coins prior to 1956 subject to the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury.

“The motto has been in continuous use on the one-cent coin since 1909, and on the ten-cent coin since 1916,” according the Treasury website. “It also has appeared on all gold coins and silver dollar coins, half-dollar coins, and quarter-dollar coins struck since July 1, 1908.”

In recent years atheist groups have decried the national motto as a violation of the First Amendment’s prohibition on the establishment of a national religion. As the Associated Press reported in January, activist Michael Newdow filed a lawsuit in federal court in Ohio seeking to prohibit the use of the motto on U.S. currency. 



In 2004, the United States Supreme Court rejected Mr. Newdow’s challenge of the use of the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance, although it did not rule on the merits of the case, merely that Mr. Newdow lacked standing to sue.

 

 

 

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