In the American Dollar you can see religious symbolism such us The Eye of Providence or The Owl of Minerva also the motto "In God We Trust" is repeated multiple times.

When swearing an oath in front of jury the "So help me God" part is frequently used.

Since the USA is a multicultural country in which people adhere to different religions or to none and the First Amendment guarantees freedom of choice, are there any politicians for removing religious rhetoric and symbols from government institutions?

  • I can't answer as I don't follow US politics, but issuing new currency to replace every dollar/cent/penny in circulation would be very expensive. That would beg the question of what benefit that would create.
    – user7809
    Commented Jul 24, 2018 at 10:26
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    @Bad_Bishop Bank notes are constantly being destroyed and reprinted. Minor and major design changes are not uncommon. The USD 100 bill was just redesigned in 2010. Problems arise if you want to declare all the currency in circulation to be void. But there is no reason to do this if you just want to make a design change.
    – Philipp
    Commented Jul 24, 2018 at 10:34
  • Note that the generic belief that there is a God is a little bit different from a specific belief. For example, government buildings can't generally erect a copy of the Ten Commandments, but that's not the same thing as a monument saying "God Bless America". Some people have even argued that the First Amendment doesn't protect Atheism or lack of religion-- it just protects choice of religion.
    – user2565
    Commented Jul 25, 2018 at 22:39
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    @barrycarter, I wonder how people would react to monuments with "Allah Bless America" or "Buddha Bless America" or "The Supreme Being Bless America" (Scientology). I think it would be an interesting experiment. Or better yet, on money we print - In Allah/Buddha/Supreme Being We Trust. I predict heads exploding. 8^)
    – CramerTV
    Commented Jul 25, 2018 at 23:40

1 Answer 1


In 1907, during the administration of Theodore Roosevelt, gold coins were coined without the "In God We Trust" motto, which leaded to numerous protests, and the President answered in a letter, stating that he opposes the usage of the motto in the coin, and explaining why:

"To put such a motto on coins (...) is in effect irreverence, which comes dangerously close to sacrilege. A beautiful and solemn sentence such as the one in question should be treated and uttered only with that fine reverence which necessarily implies a certain exaltation of spirit"

However, he was not opposed to use the motto in national monuments or certain other important governmental buildings, since in these places "it will tend to arouse and inspire a lofty emotion in those who look thereon."

He also states that removing the symbol was not unconstitutional, since there was no legal warrant mandating it at the time, according to him.

So, Theodore Roosevelt was for removing this motto for the coins (but not governmental buildings) not because he somewhat opposite the motto or religious symbols, but because he felt they were too solemn for mundane usage on coins - not the reason a modern secular activist would like...

About modern politicians, I found this guy, Sean Faircloth, a Democrat from Maine, who was a State Senator and a member of the Maine House of Representatives. He opposed a resolution that would "reaffirm" the phrase as the official motto of USA, calling to display it publicly in all governmental buildings. Not exactly about removing the existing usages of motto, but is a public opposition by an American politician:

“To me, as a former legislator myself, I was always skeptical of this kind of symbolic resolution,” said SCA Executive Director Sean Faircloth, who served for a decade in the Maine State Legislature, his last term as the Democratic majority whip.

While it may score political points for its sponsors, Faircloth contends, it also sends an inappropriate message that the religious views of certain Americans stand superior to others. He argues it is a message that some Founding Fathers such as James Madison also would have objected to.

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