Accordingly, we set about getting everything put into our names in accordance with appropriate regulations. Thus, we made our way to our county court house, before swinging by to see our insurance carrier. It was while we were at the local county clerk’s office conducting our business that I overheard a conversation between a local resident and the individual handling the window adjacent to us. Here is the gist of that conversation…
CLERK: “Can I help you?”
RESIDENT: “Yes ma’am. I’m here to renew a license plate.”
CLERK: “Okay. Do you have your current registration?”
RESIDENT: “I do; but I do not want to renew the prestige plate that is currently on the vehicle. It’s an older vehicle that I have just now begun restoring. So, to save a little money, just give me a standard plate for it until I can eventually get it all back together and roadworthy again.”
CLERK: “Okay. No problem. Now, on that standard plate, do you want one with or without the phrase ‘In God We Trust’ printed on it?”
I must admit that I was completely caught off guard by this last question. I knew the phrase was on our state car tags, and had been as long as I could remember. But apparently, it is now considered optional, with each vehicle owner responsible for determining whether or not he or she desires to have it displayed.
I decided to go home and do as little research on the subject, whereupon I discovered the following facts. The phrase “In God We Trust” is: 1) the official national motto of the United States of America (as it has been since 1956), 2) found on official United States coinage and currency, 3) found on multiple U.S. state seals, 4) found on multiple U.S. state flags, and 5) also found on the license plates of nineteen different U.S. states.
What is more, by overwhelming votes, both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives have recently reaffirmed the phrase as the official national motto. Numerous court cases over the years have repeatedly resulted in rulings that the use of the phrase on public documents and insignia is completely constitutional.
Perhaps most interesting, as recently as 2003, according to a joint poll conducted by USA Today, CNN, and Gallup, fully 90% of Americans support the inscription "In God We Trust" on U.S. coinage and currency. Interestingly enough, it was shortly thereafter that things began to change.
After nearly 150 years with the motto on one flat side of U.S. coinage, the 2007 the George Washington dollar coins issued that year included the motto only in small print on the edge of the coin!
Interestingly enough, through a supposed mint error, several coins were even produced with smooth edges that did not include the motto. They are known today as “Godless dollars”. Of course, the mint claimed it was all a big mistake.
But either way, many people saw all of this as an intentional way of marginalizing the phrase “In God We Trust”. And now, barely a dozen years or so later, it is arguable that the phrase is once again beginning to be sidelined.
But even if not, the question asked by the clerk of the citizen at the local court house is one that has relevance for all of us in this great country – “Do you want to be tagged as someone with or without ‘In God We trust’?”
Seriously, do you want your life to display trust in God or not? Do you want your possessions, your activities, your behaviors, your convictions, your values, and any and all other indicators of your true heart to say “In God I Trust” or not?!
My wife and I are extremely grateful for the trust shown to us by her parents. They did not have to bless us with such a wonderful gift. But they did, along with many other wonderful blessings. As a result, we pray that we will never violate that trust!
In like manner, we know that it is only by God’s blessing that we get to live in such a wonderful country as the United States of America, as well as to enjoy all the additional freedoms and benefits that come with this.
The Biblical book of Proverbs (chapter 3, verses 5-6) gives us this instruction: “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Needless to say, this admonition has particular relevance in a day and age in which trusting in God is increasingly presented as optional.
In light of these things, may we all always be ready, willing, and able to affirm that our trust is in God, and in God alone!
STATISTICAL SOURCES: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_God_We_Trust; and https://www.conservapedia.com/In_God_We_Trust.
SCRIPTURE SOURCE: https://biblehub.com/kjv/proverbs/3.htm.