Why does the Pledge of Allegiance have "...Under God..." in it and why does the dollar bill have so many Christian references when the USA has no official religion?

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    Plus, there's the first amendment, which says not to respect an establishment of religion. Not sure how they got around that. Jul 3, 2015 at 14:43
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    @PointlessSpike - that's easy. "under god" doesn't establish A religion. If it said "Under Jesus", that probably would have, and likely wouldn't survive the first legal challenge under 1st amendement.
    – user4012
    Jul 6, 2015 at 13:58
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    It respects multiple establishments of religion- anything with a god. I don't see how it can be interpreted any other way, and I'm continually amazed that people are okay with that. Jul 6, 2015 at 16:01

3 Answers 3


Why does the Pledge of Allegiance have "...Under God..."

Because Catholics in 1951 decided it should be added and eventually convinced congress to amend it.

why does the dollar bill have so many Christian references

Specifically referring to "in god we trust", like the Pledge of Allegiance, a group of people decided to lobby the powers that be to add it. This happened during the civil war.

In other words, democracy. It just happens that--at least at the time of these changes--we were a democracy with a lot of Christians.

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    "Because someone wanted to" is the worst kind of answer. It is kicking the can down the road. It begs the question: why did those groups want to insert those religious references? Why did they advocate for it at that time as opposed to any other time, or why were they successful at that time as opposed to any other? Failing to address those questions makes your answer pretty uninformative.
    – J Doe
    Jul 21, 2017 at 18:00
  • @JDoe that's a fine, but separate, question...and likely a whole lot more complex. Also, the cited links provide those details for those that wish to pursue that more detailed question.
    – user1530
    Jul 21, 2017 at 18:18

There has always been a tension between religious freedom and groups who feel that part of religious freedom is imposing their religion upon others.

However, if you'll note the timeframe when all of those things were officially added, it was during the height of the Cold War and anti-Communist hysteria in the USA. Those references were less about true faith and more about overty differentiating "God-fearing" Americans from the "godless" Communists.

A law passed in a Joint Resolution by the 84th Congress (P.L. 84-140) and approved by President Dwight Eisenhower on July 30, 1956, declared "In God We Trust" must appear on American currency. This phrase was first used on paper money in 1957, when it appeared on the one-dollar silver certificate.

Wikipedia: In God We Trust

In 1954, in response to the Communist threat of the times, President Eisenhower encouraged Congress to add the words "under God," creating the 31-word pledge we say today.

ushistory.org - The Pledge Of Allegiance

  • 1
    In God We Trust began appearing on coins in the 19th century.
    – phoog
    Jul 21, 2017 at 2:11
  • @phoog - was not officially enshrined and required by law until the 1950s. Jul 21, 2017 at 13:18
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    It was not required by law, but it was authorized by law, as noted correctly in the Wikipedia article you link to. Your answer is oversimplified to the point of being misleading.
    – phoog
    Jul 21, 2017 at 14:45
  • @phoog - nothing misleading. Things become more monolithic and omnipresent when they are required. It was not on currency until then. After, it was on all currency. The question specifically mentions the "dollar bill" I'm responding to the specific examples noted by OP, and for both of them, they are fueled by the Cold War political sensibilities, not any particular religious push. Jul 21, 2017 at 14:52
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    Coins are currency too, and it was on all commonly used coins for decades before the cold war. What's misleading is the implication that this arose during the cold war, when in fact the currency motto was a political issue for a century before that, and had been authorized by statute for 90 years before it was required. So the reasons behind the motto are far broader than a reaction against communism.
    – phoog
    Jul 21, 2017 at 15:30

In general, religion is a big topic in the USA because many people immigrated to the USA came in order to have religious freedom.


I think they have no official religion because of the religios diversity in their country.

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    No. They have no official religion because the country's founders ideologically opposed the concept of official religion. Nominally, most of them were quite religiously homogeneous, an odd Theist nonwithstanding.
    – user4012
    Jul 6, 2015 at 14:00
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    But why did they oppose the concept of an official religion? I think because there is the religious diversity and with one official religion the diversity is away.
    – Sir Sy
    Jul 6, 2015 at 16:59
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    There are certainly other reasons for opposing official religion. Or do you think Kemal Ataturk founded modern Turkey as an explicitly secular state because of the enormous religious diversity amongst the Muslim Turks?
    – oerkelens
    Jul 20, 2017 at 8:25

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