Next month marks the 146 anniversary of the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury's directive to prepare a motto for our national coins. In his letter to the Director of the U.S. Mint, the Secretary notes, "No nation can be strong except in the strength of God, or safe except in His defense. The trust of our people in God should be declared on our national coins." The Director of the Mint submitted designs two years later and Congress approved a motto for the coins -- In God We Trust -- shortly thereafter (the motto was adopted as our national motto some 90-years later in the 1950s and was also placed on our paper currency at that time).
The change took place during the ravages of the Civil War. A Pennsylvanian pastor was one of many who wrote the Secretary requesting recognition of God on our coins. The pastor states in his letter, "What if our Republic were not shattered beyond reconstruction? Would not the antiquaries of succeeding centuries rightly reason from our past that we were a heathen nation?" He goes on to say, "From my hearth I have felt our national shame in disowning God as not the least of our present national disasters."
Just a little bit of trivia to think about as you carry that pocket full of change. I have a feeling that such statements by an elected or appointed government official would not fly today, to say the least.