Washington, DC, July 13, 2010
The American Humanist Association today strongly criticized an effort by a fundamentalist Christian organization to "return ‘In God We Trust' to every schoolroom in America." The American Family Association, a politically active right-wing Christian group, made this plea in an action alert to members on July 6, calling for supporters to back legislation that would reaffirm the "In God We Trust" motto and call for its placement in all public buildings, including schools (H.Con.Res. 274).
"This AFA action alert is a smoking gun that shows the ‘In God We Trust' motto to be inherently religious, with no real secular purpose," said David Niose, the AHA's president. "Here we have a fundamentalist Christian group leading the charge to place the motto everywhere, obviously to impose their particular religious views on everyone, including nonreligious and humanist families."
Rather than wide placement of the religious motto, the AHA instead recommends placement of the nation's original motto, E Pluribus Unum (Latin for "Out of many, one"), which still appears on the national seal, in public buildings. "E Pluribus Unum is the kind of motto that all Americans can embrace," Niose said. "It's inclusive, reflecting our pluralistic character and emphasizing our unity. The ‘In God We Trust' motto is inherently exclusive and divisive, and unfortunately that's precisely why religious fundamentalists are so fond of its wide placement."
He continued: "This political effort by the religious American Family Association demonstrates the discriminatory nature of the ‘In God We Trust' motto, and illuminates its religious purpose and effect. No matter what one's religious background and belief, surely one can understand that no child should have to go to public school each morning to see signs declaring his or her family's religious beliefs to be wrong. That's just unfair, not what this country is all about."
The AHA is urging legislators to carefully consider the underlying motivation behind the American Family Association's action alert, and the legislation that it supports.
The American Humanist Association (www.americanhumanist.org
) advocates for the rights and viewpoints of humanists. Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., its work is extended through more than 100 local chapters and affiliates across America.
Humanism is the idea that you can be good without a belief in God.