To add to the list: "In God We Trust" did not appear on our coinage (which began in 1792) until 1864 (not a typo, eighteen sixty-four), on the new two cent piece (which was later discontinued). A lot of large silver and gold coins ended up with IGWT on them a couple of years later, and it gradually became more and more prevalent. The last coin not to have IGWT on it was the "buffalo" nickel which was last issued in 1938.
Much of our paper money did not bear IGWT on it even into the mid 1960s; 1957 is the date the motto was first introduced, on some one dollar bills--other one dollar bills continued to be produced without the motto at the same time.
The fundamental law of the United States was secular by the design of Madison, Hamilton and several others; rather explicitly so. Neither Madison or Hamilton were fans of the Bill of Rights anyway. They accepted it for ratification.
The changes in the Pledge and the Motto are still quite within living memory. I remember them both when we had to relearn them in grade school. As children, it made little impression on us, but I do remember some controversy about it even then. Communism and the Cold War were real and present dangers for us -- we practiced ducking under our school desks in air raid drills, and my mother was a Civil Defense Warden for our street, with manuals of airplane recognition silhouettes. Again, as children it didn't mean much to us, but the aura of fear was absorbed, and has been bearing fruit for many decades now.
And so this sneaky intrusion of God into our national fabric went unnoticed, mostly. And so it begins. Sneaky, underhanded, opportunistic grabbing of opportunity to secure a foothold, and build on it. You can see it continuing quite clearly in this last presidential campaign. Scary. Resist.
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Sunday School 31th August 2014
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