Church and State in 21st Century America

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America's founders wrote a Constitution to intentionally exclude God, and their first amendment forbids the government to establish any religion. Thomas Jefferson even called for a "wall of separation between church and state." But, during the Red Scare of the 1950's, "In God We Trust" not only appeared on American money, but replaced E Pluribus Unum —"Out of Many, One" — as the national motto. Even though there was no substantive challenge in sight, Congress reaffirmed that last year—by a vote of 396 to 9.  Americans have the right to practice any religion they want to, but are these official references threatening the commitment to a secular government? Do they imply that this is a Christian nation or recognize that one God is as good as another in a country of many different faiths?




Warren Olney