Tuesday, January 13, 2009

In God We Trust

"In God We Trust" is one of the most famous of all American declarations. The entire world knows what a dollar is and the words "In God We Trust" are clear to see. Could the words "In God We Trust" be put on the American dollar today if the words were not already there? I don't think so.

A society like the US society can only tolerate a certain level of hypocrisy before the society finally says "Let's at least be honest!".

The words "In God We Trust" were born in a different time and among a different kind of thinking. I don't know when they ended up on the dollar bill, but I do know that these words once meant a great more to the collective American mind than they do now. I don't believe today's American thinking would affirm a unified national trust in God as important enough to print it on the dollar bill.

The thinking that produced the American governmental behaviors of our history was not perfect at the beginning. It was, however, a deeply God influenced thinking. The idea of everyone needing to trust in God was clearly a national virtue if not a national reality.
The need to trust God for us to be a successful nation is no longer a nationally accepted virtue. In fact, it is an opposed national virtue and thought.

I am not sure if anyone can say how many Americans currently trust God. The huge majority may very well trust God. What I do think is clear to see is that more Americans than ever are being tempted to trust Government as their source of hope. Perhaps in this temptation we are the least like our founding Fathers. They came to this country convinced that government was not the hope. They were not tempted to build a powerful central government as a source of hope.

In these difficult financial times I am encouraged because I believe we will all have to deal with the issue of trust at a much deeper level than in recent times. For spiritual life and formation this is a very good environment to teach abiding in Christ.

I expect to be busier than ever in 2009. I predict the issue of trust will be the issue of 2009. In fact, the issue of trust has always been the #1 issue in any generation. If our trust in the dollar weakens in 2009, I pray our trust in God will not go with the decline of the dollar.

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