John Andrew Murray: How one man put God into circulation

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomy

Posted November 30, 2007 at 12:04 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Spiro wrote:

And now,.......ACLU, Americans United, etc….....

November 30, 11:50 pm | [comment link]
2. justinmartyr wrote:

In ancient Rome you pagans took our taxes, persecuted us, and used it to prop up the Caesar, the Imperial Deity. The early Christians fought back with their own time, money, and blood by building the Church.

Today we couldn’t be bothered to pay extra tithe money or tithe extra time to actually evangelize the world. It was so much easier to take the atheists’ taxes and print money declaring the supremacy of our deity. “In God We Trust,” Caesar declares. And that means you, you pagan atheist dogs! As Spiro so eloquently put it, down with the ACLU, Americans United, etc. How dare you use your private funds to undermine our domination of your taxes! We’re just trying to be salt and light with your copper and greenbacks.

December 2, 12:43 am | [comment link]
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