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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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Fifty years ago, the phrase "In God We Trust" first appeared on our nation's one-dollar bill. But long before the motto was signed into law by President Eisenhower, it was considered for U.S. coins during the divisive years of the Civil War.
On Nov. 13, 1861, in the first months of the war, Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase received the following letter from a Rev. M.R. Watkinson: "Dear Sir, One fact touching our currency has hitherto been seriously overlooked. I mean the recognition of the Almighty God in some form on our coins. You are probably a Christian. What if our Republic were now shattered beyond reconstruction? Would not the antiquaries of succeeding centuries rightly reason from our past that we were a heathen nation?"
The clergyman surmised correctly. Chase was indeed a Christian.
As a young man at Dartmouth College, Chase had described himself as skeptical of the Christian faith. He had written to a friend, Tom Sparhawk, in 1826: "A [religious] revival has commenced here [at Dartmouth]. I was not taught to believe much in the efficacy of such things but I do not know enough concerning their effects to oppose them." Not only did Chase tolerate Dartmouth's revival of 1826, but he emerged as one of 12 new followers of Christ. As Chase wrote to another acquaintance in April of that year, "It has pleased God in his infinite mercy to bring me . . . to the foot of the cross and to find acceptance through the blood of His dear Son."
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