Christianity in the American Government- Laws and Money

American Money

            Though the ideas of a government with a Christian agenda began in the early times of our settlers, it has continued until this very day with the printing and coining of all American currency. “IN GOD WE TRUST” appears on all forms of American money from the penny to the one-hundred dollar bill. Similarly to the pledge of allegiance, the U.S. government began printing “In God We Trust” on all American legal tender as a way to increase religious sentiment in a time of conflict. This addition to our currency was added during the civil war as the nation’s Christian population increased dramatically. According to the Secretary of Treasury in 1861, he began to receive an influx of letters demanding that the union make a coin recognizing their faith. The first of these letters was written to secretary chase by Rev. M. R. Watkinson, Minister of the Gospel from Pennsylvania. In this letter, Reverend Watkinson states that by producing such a coin “This would relieve us from the ignominy of heathenism. This would place us openly under the Divine protection we have personally claimed.The “IN GOD WE TRUST” motto first appeared on an American two-cent coin in 1864.

In 1837, an Act of congress declared that any motto printed on American currency is the sole decision of Congress. This means that the mint could not make any changes without additional legislation through the legislative branch. The legislative branch of our federal government controls the printing of money and, though it raises much controversy, the presses continue to print the phrase on all American legal tender. This is a true example of Christianity in the American federal government. Congress has upheld its decision of printing the phrase as an American tradition.

Our Laws 

                        Though it may be less clear at times than “one nation under God” or “IN GOD WE TRUST”, the more controversial issues continue to rise from the Christianity based moral fabric that is woven into our society. Because America is a democratic nation, majority rules; therefore it is not surprising that everything from the laws that we make to our everyday life choices are somehow connected with Christianity. It is because of our Christian majority in America that we continue to see a lapse in separation of church and state through our federal laws involving abortion, the definition of marriage, and embryonic stem cell research.

            “A woman’s right to choose,” The right for a woman to choose whether or not to terminate a pregnancy while it is in a non-viable state. Abortion laws are, at this time, determined at the state level as opposed to the federal level. This means that each state may create its own laws determining who should be able to receive an abortion, at which time an abortion should be legal, and spousal and parental consent on the matter, as long as the states abide by the federal constitution in not restricting abortions during the first trimester. Many Christian politicians find this practice “against God” and therefore would never condone such a program. Yet abortion continues to be available for women who seek it during the first trimester and with some exceptions into the second trimester. During the second trimester of pregnancy, because the risk to the mother’s health grows larger for an abortion during this time, the state “may regulate the abortion procedure in ways that are reasonably related to maternal health” During the third trimester, because the Supreme Court has determined that a fetus become viable at this time, the state may choose to regulate or even prohibit abortions.

Traditional Christian values promote peace, love, “turning the other cheek”, and following the life of the Christ. This is all too often forgotten when Christian EXTREMISTS and fanatics take their personal beliefs too far. This is extremely obvious in the fight against a woman’s right to choose by extremist “pro-lifers”. Women have been killed, abortion clinics have been bombed, doctors have been attacked, and in some cases women have been denied medical care because they terminated a pregnancy. This act of “Christian terrorism” is the same terrorism that we fight against in the Middle East. America is blindly in denial to these acts of terrorism and violence in our own country and refuse to acknowledge these Christian terrorist extremists as such.

Many Christian protest groups have lobbied for a change using graphic images and referring to any type of abortion, no matter the reason, as an act of murder. This is a very hot-button issue because of the extreme circumstances that the act of abortion sometimes attract. In many cases, a pregnancy could become a threat to the health or even the life of the woman. There are also some cases in which the pregnant woman has been a victim of a rape may not want to continue the pregnancy. Abortions in the first trimester, though continually and heavily protested by many Christian activists, continue to be protected by a broad definition of America’s constitutional rights to personal privacy found in the 4th, 5th, 9th and 14th Amendments.

            Gay marriage is one of the most controversial issues that our nation faces today.

The truth is, that the source of this ban of homosexual marriage originated from the Christian Bible that states in Leviticus 18:22: “Do not lie with a man as you lie with a woman – that is detestable.” Christians in America today feel that, because the bible states that homosexuality is a sin, that it is immoral and hence should be illegal. So far the union of two same-sex partners remains illegal in most states, but the debate is still very much alive throughout state and federal governments. This connection between homosexuality being “wrong” and the Christian Bible is actually a fairly stated truth, even then President Bush in 2003 stated “I believe marriage is between a man and a woman, and I think we ought to codify that one way or another,” …”Yes, I am mindful that we’re all sinners,” when he was asked his view on homosexual marriage.

By David McAfee

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11 responses to “Christianity in the American Government- Laws and Money

  1. I always refer to them as anti abortionists rather than pro lifers for this reason.

  2. Again- excellent writing! Please feel free to post your articles (past/present/future) on the “Freethinkers for a Secular America” site.

  3. i do not feel abortion should be used as birth control, but i do feel it’s a right every woman should have. it’s a deeply private decision & these anti-abortionists should back off. it’s not fair to force someone to go through a pregnancy that is not only not viable, but could kill the mother & child. as far as gay marriage goes, love is love. it’s not who you love, it’s that you love. i’ve done the marriage thing & it’s not all sunshine & roses. why can’t everyone be allowed to experience the same misery? LOL, jk! but seriously, i am sick of these bible thumpers dictating how things go. got any proof of the existence of the God you so vehemently claim listens & is there for you? well, he’s not… it’s just the voices in your self-righteous, judgMENTAL, bigoted head that are listening & more than likely they’re spewing out the same self-righteous, judgMENTAL, bigoted rhetoric & lies you believe in… it’s you, in stereo not some almighty being in the sky.

  4. Abortion is a very personal matter that can cause a woman so much stress and heartbreak. The fact that these anti-abortionists are treating these women with such little respect is horrible and just plain evil. It shows they truely have no regard for a human life. They jut want to please their imaginary sky friend.

  5. Hi David,

    I don’t know how I managed to come across your writings, but I think you should consider some things from a politically liberal Christian’s perspective (and I think you and your readers should chill out and understand that right-wing conservatism or Christian extremism does not equal Christianity).

    As a Christian, I do not condone any violence against people, including psychological violence (as seen in the use of pictures in protests, etc.). However, the abortion issue isn’t just something that “goes against God.” As for me, I have always been a very strong feminist and very much on the pro-choice side of things. However, as I get older, I understand where my self righteousness and desire for individuality (and distance from God) overtook other types of love, often leaving blood on my hands. As such, with the birth of my first nephew I realized that there is no way to know whether or not a fetus has a consciousness. If you let it develop, it will come out a child and turn into a human adult, full of opinions just like you. For those that say “Well there is no proof a fetus is a child” please consider that there is no proof also that it is not.

    I also realized that there is absolutely no one or nothing in the world more helpless than a developing fetus. It has no choice in this matter. It is cradled in its mother’s womb, its heart beating, hoping to end up ok. This is so much like the baby sea turtles that come out of the sand hoping to make it to the ocean…except we are talking about humans, here. Human beings. Real people. Children that grow into your lovers, your family. Well, I can’t say enough against this as a human, a believer in human rights! But again, I don’t condone acts of violence against women (or anyone) AS A CHRISTIAN.

    As for the homosexuality issue, I am all for expressions of love and the legitimation of those expressions. However, there is a serious, SERIOUS problem with the institution of marriage being a legal state for anyone, despite who your partner is. Rights and privileges should not be attached to it. Anyway, despite what I think about homosexuality, it is not condemned by many Christians because of one little verse, as you claim in this writing. The whole basis of Christian belief rests especially on the natural order of creation that God intended before the fall, which is a theme that runs THROUGHOUT the Bible. The same can be said about illness, about the anger I feel when I get cut off while driving, the jealousy I feel when I see something I want. Our natural state as humans is flawed in EVERY way, no matter what organizations we work for or causes we rally for. Why some loud Christians focus on homosexuality and make it such a huge deal, I have no idea. The fact is that all of us, whether you believe in God or not, are flawed in sin and spend all of our time serving ourselves rather than Him. Thankfully, He sent Himself, His Son, into His own creation to wipe our slates clean. You know why, don’t you? Because he WANTS us to be whole, to be complete, to be WITH him and IN RELATIONSHIP with him!

    David, in order to have a better argument, you need to understand Christian theology better…and the difference between politics and faith. Make that more clear in your writings and you’ll be on to something.

  6. “The fact that these anti-abortionists are treating these women with such little respect is horrible and just plain evil. It shows they truely have no regard for a human life. They jut want to please their imaginary sky friend.”

    Those are certain ‘anti abortionists’. I am a pro lifer or as you call an ‘anti abortionist’, however I am also an Atheist. I would appreciate it if you wouldn’t categorize all pro lifers into a group that “treats women with such little respect” and who “have no regard for human life”. There are extremists that are like that, but a majority are not.

    It is just as saying that all Muslims are terrorists.

    Learn how to be more open minded.
    K? Thanks.

    • Christina- I’d just like to say that, if you read the passage above the one in which you quoted, I feel I made it abundantly clear that I was referring to the EXTREMIST branch of the ‘pro-lifer’ community- “Traditional Christian values promote peace, love, “turning the other cheek”, and following the life of the Christ. This is all too often forgotten when Christian EXTREMISTS and fanatics take their personal beliefs too far. This is extremely obvious in the fight against a woman’s right to choose by extremist “pro-lifers”.”

      I even emphasised the EXTREMIST portion with all capital letters to ensure acknowledgement that not every pro-lifer has those beliefs- No where in the article did I indicate that all Christian pro-lifers were fanatics. Thank you for your concern but I hope that NEXT TIME, you’ll take the time to read the article a little more thouroughly-

      K Thanks

  7. David-
    Yes, I realize that YOU were talking about extremists.
    I was quoting and referring to Erica Peace’s comment because, to me, it seemed that she was referring to anti-abortionists as a whole and not clarifying that who she was talking about are the extremists. As well as not all try to please their imaginary friend in the sky, because not all pro lifers are religious.
    I was commenting upon Ericas’ comment…not really towards your article-if that is where you are confused.

    • Haha ohhh. I did a CTRL F for your quote (I knew I didn’t say it) and I didn’t see it in the comments either- I was indeed confused because I did my best to specify the extremist portion. As for erica’s comment- we should all do our best to not use generalizations so we don’t offend people… Like Christina. Lol

      🙂

      • Hahah, oh okay.
        Because I saw your comment, and was like…what? I was confused, but I figured you may not have seen I just quoted hers in my comment, instead of doing this.
        And, yes. I agree you did a good job specifying extremists…I could not miss the all caps, haha…I read more carefully then you think! 🙂

        Hahaha, thanks.

  8. Pingback: Two Nations, Under God: The Canadian Charter from an American Perspective « The Writings of David McAfee

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