Statement by Michael Fuljenz, President of Universal Coin & Bullion….
Some critics of “In God We Trust” may be ignorant of the phrase’s legal history or are deliberately ignoring the rulings of courts and resolutions of Congress. Regarding the recent controversy about the motto’s placement on police vehicles in some communities, it’s important to remember the patriotic motto has withstood a long line of legal challenges to appear on our money and on government-owned property.
It first appeared on circulating United States coins in 1864. It has been on all our coins since 1938 and became the only official national motto in 1956 with the signing of legislation by President Dwight Eisenhower, and has appeared on all our paper money since 1966.
Recent court cases include a 2013 ruling when a Federal Court judge in New York dismissed a lawsuit seeking removal of “In God We Trust” from coins and paper money. The judge noted that “the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly assumed the motto’s secular purpose and effect.”
In 2011, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a resolution reaffirming it as the national motto and encouraging its display in all public schools and government buildings.
While the motto first appeared on U.S. coins at the time of the Civil War, it actually was inspired by events a half century earlier during the War of 1812.
In 1861, Treasury Secretary Salmon Chase received a letter from a Pennsylvania minister who requested “the recognition of the Almighty God in some form on our coins.” Chase instructed Mint Director James Pollock to prepare a motto. Pollock recalled a lyric in the now-seldom sung fourth stanza of The Star Spangled Banner: “And this be our motto – In God is our trust.” Pollock had the words, ‘GOD OUR TRUST,’ placed on a few experimental patterns being tested in 1861 for proposed new designs for half-dollar and $10 denomination coins.
After consultations and debate within the Treasury Department, the words IN GOD WE TRUST first appeared in circulation on a new coin denomination, copper two-cent pieces, starting in 1864.
An award-winning detailed history of the national motto, written by Fuljenz, is available free online at www.INGODWETRUSTonmoney.com.
For more about IN GOD WE TRUST, be sure to check out CoinWeek’s own history of the motto.
The article is written in response to an Associated Press article about the Childress, TX Police Department drawing criticism from The Freedom From Religion Foundation over their decision to put In God We Trust on their patrol cars.
First of all, Burns’ article appears to be plagiarized. The supposed quotes from Fuljenz appear to have been copied and pasted from a statement released by Fuljenz on a website called Numismatica. Follow the links for PRWeb and Numismatica and compare the content. It is quite obvious that the PRWeb article is a copy and paste job with filler added. Even if it isn’t plagiarized – i.e. Fuljenz gave permission to use his statement – there aren’t any links on Burns’ article to the original by Fuljenz, which is disingenuous at best.
Secondly, the article makes a show of Fuljenz being an “award winning author.” This fact is mentioned no less than three times in Burns’ article. According to his bio, Fuljenz has won awards for “His books, media appearances and newsletters about gold and rare coins.” Fair enough, but that doesn’t make him an expert on In God We Trust – whatever that would be – nor does it make him a historian. Fuljenz is an expert on rare coins and precious metals. He quite comically says in his bio that he is “Known as America’s Gold Expert®.” No, that registered symbol isn’t a typo. Of course, Fuljenz is entitled to his opinion about IGWT, but be wary of Greeks bearing credentials and accolades.
Thirdly, Fuljenz’s entire argument for In God We Trust rests on two logical fallacies: an appeal to tradition and an appeal to authority. He says, “Some critics of In God We Trust may be ignorant of the phrase’s legal history or are deliberately ignoring the rulings of courts and resolutions of Congress.” He then goes on to describe the history of In God We Trust. Yes, it is true that there is a long history of use and many court rulings upholding IGWT. However, just because something has been in use for a long time does not automatically make it correct. At the same time, just because an authoritative body says that IGWT is legal does not mean that its use is morally correct. Of these defenses, neither actually answers the charge from opponents that the motto is divisive, discriminatory, or a government endorsement of religiosity.
The lesson here is be on the lookout for bullshit. Often, the proponents of IGWT will be unscrupulous and vague simply to advance their agenda.
Used with permission via http://originalmotto.us/2015/09/igwt-proponent-gets-ridiculous/
At first we were not going to post this comment, but then we reconsidered, as this seemed to be an excellent opportunity to use this comment to make a much broader point.
1) The commentators first point is both a distraction and a simple attempt to diminish the author (in this case Burns) by first raising the specter of his being a plagiarist, and at the least, not properly footnoting or linking to his source. It is always a sure sign of a weak argument when one has to resort to ad hominem attacks right out of the gate, to plant doubts about a persons character and honestly before even attempting to address the arguments at hand. Strike One.
2) The commentator than goes after Mike Fuljenz, first tying to belittle his writing achievements and awards, then mocking a registered “motto” Mike uses and then finally advising the reader to we wary of anyone “bearing credentials and accolades”. Really? that is the best you can do. Mike Fuljenz is a recognized numismatic Expert and author, and the history of the motto “In God We Trust” is intertwined with its use on US Coins and Currency. In fact numismatists likely know more about both how the motto came into being and how it was used and challenged than most historians. Once again the commentator shows little ability to put forward a cogent argument without resorting to sophomoric innuendo and childish quips. Strike two.
3) Finally we get to some semblance of an argument to address the issue of the use of the motto “In Gold We Trust” in the public arena. Unfortunately it is more of an opportunity missed than a reasoned position against the continued use of the motto. He admits that “…. there is a long history of use and many court rulings upholding IGWT” and then he goes on to say “just because an authoritative body says that IGWT is legal does not mean that its use is morally correct”. OK, you are entitled to your opinion, recognizing that both the Congress, the courts and the majority of the American people do not agree with your position that the use of the motto is “divisive, discriminatory, or a government endorsement of religiosity” You might have been better off explaining exactly how and why that is the case , but that may be why so few people pay attention to your arguments, you don’t articulate them. Ball One.
And finally, the commentators conclusion comes in the form of the revelation of a “lesson” that we need to be on the “lookout for bullshit”. He continues …. “Often, the proponents of IGWT will be unscrupulous and vague simply to advance their agenda” I am dumbfounded. Is he talking about Mike Fulgenz, the Congress, the courts, the American people…..or himself, because just making declarative statements does not make them true, morally correct or convincing. Strike three, Your Out.
If there is indeed any lesson in all of this, it is surly the lack of even an attempt to discuss the issue in an intelligent manner or to respect our differences even when we feel passionate about a topic. We seem to have lost our collective ability to be civil and intellectually honest. You either have to believe as I do, or you are somehow a bad person, stupid, deluded, dishonest or self promoting, and as such fair game to be an object of ridicule. What a sad commentary on our society. I think we can do far better that this.
The courts upheld IGWT on the ridiculous basis that “god” isn’t religious. It always reminds me of Peter denying Jesus three times.