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In God We Trust

An appellant court in Northern California recently ruled on a lawsuit brought against the United States by a rather importunate atheist. He’s been after the government for years to remove “In God We Trust” from our money, coins and paper. Now the justices have rendered their final judgment. The motto can stay, they decided, for one simple reason. “In God We Trust” merely has ceremonial meaning, they said. It does not convey any religious significance at all.

That’s always the tension, isn’t it? Most of us regularly speak of faith and talk about God. With over 90% of Americans saying they believe in God, we would expect this. God-talk is routine and commonplace. Every day, in fact, we exchange these small orbs of metal and thin pieces of paper with one another, each time declaring, at least tacitly, that in God we trust.

But is that exchange merely ceremonial, or is it rich with religious significance? That’s always the challenge, meaning what we say and saying what we mean—even when it’s stamped out for us.

In the Judeo/Christian heritage, nothing seems to irk God more than people speaking His name with their lips but not their hearts. Nothing gets God’s fearsome attention faster than a nation declaring billions of times daily that it trusts in God without in fact giving any real meaning to it.

In God we trust? It’s certainly something for us to consider.

Mark Graham is the Senior Pastor at St, John’s Lutheran Church located at 4608 Brambleton Ave. Visit them on the web at: www.stjohnlutheran.org

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