Saturday Open Thread

May 19, 2012

It’s the weekend, y’all!

So now that my daughter is growing up, she is starting to ask questions that leave me stumped. She is currently learning how to count money, and as we were doing her homework and she was examining a coin, she suddenly asked: “Why does all our money say, ‘In God We Trust’?”

I stared at her blankly and finally blurted out, “Honestly sweetie, I have no idea.” There was no plausible explanation that came to mind, and I had never stopped to question it. And because we’re not the least bit religious and Maya has only a vague understanding of what “God” means, it was even more awkward.

Wikipedia to the rescue:

Aspirations for the motto arose surrounding the turmoil and heightened religious sentiment that existed during the Civil War. The Reverend M. R. Watkinson, as part of a campaign initiated by eleven northern Protestant Christian denominations in a letter dated 13 November 1861, petitioned the Treasury Department to add a statement recognising “Almighty God in some form in our coins.”[5] At least part of the motivation was to declare that God was on the Union side of the Civil War.

It was during the height of MCarthyism in 1956 that “In God We Trust” became our nation’s official motto, replacing “E pluribus unum.” In 2011 Congress passed a resolution reaffirming this, I guess because they wanted to show they were REAL ‘Murricans. Or something.

So now that I know all this information, I still don’t know how to explain it to a 7-year-old. All I know is that after examining the issue, having this printed on all our currency just doesn’t sit right with me. Anyone want to take a stab at it? WWMTD?

What are you up to this weekend? Chat away!