In a powerful social media post in favor of God and tradition, celebrated evangelist Franklin Graham has blasted the campaign of “41 atheists” to have America’s motto, “In God We Trust,” expurgated from U.S. bills and coins, appealing to American history and the faith of the nation’s heroes.
“An atheist group is trying to sue the U.S. government to remove ‘In God We Trust’ from our money,” Graham posted Friday on Facebook. “Not a smart move. I wonder if these people realize just what can and will happen to a nation—and a people—who want nothing to do with Almighty God or His hand of protection?”
Graham was referring to a recent lawsuit—the latest of many—filed on behalf of several atheist plaintiffs that contends that the slogan “In God We Trust” on U.S. currency is unconstitutional, and demanding that the government abolish it.
Sacramento attorney Michael Newdow filed the lawsuit Monday in Akron, Ohio, after unsuccessfully suing the government on at least two occasions for its use of the phrase “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance.
As if fearful of being contaminated by the name of the divinity, Newdow avoided the use of the word “God” throughout much of his lawsuit, preferring, instead, the elided word “G-d.”
In his post, Graham reminded his followers of the genesis of the American practice of appealing to God over mammon.
“The words were first added to U.S. coins during the beginning of the Civil War,” Graham wrote, “but on July 30, 1956, President Eisenhower signed a law officially declaring ‘In God We Trust’ to be America’s official motto. There isn’t a better one.”
The 41 plaintiffs are arguing that “In God We Trust” somehow violates the separation of church and state, a principle that is not mentioned in the Constitution. The wording of the first Amendment is remarkably sober and concise, stating only that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” One would be hard-pressed to show that printing “In God We Trust” on dollar bills somehow constituted a law respecting an establishment of religion.
Franklin Graham retorted, “Should a handful of people—41 atheists in this case—be able to change what has been the backbone of a nation for generations? I certainly hope not.”
“The Bible says, ‘Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God,’” Graham concluded.
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome.