IGWT Proponent Gets Ridiculous

Over on PRWeb, a news distributing site, James Burns has posted an article entitled ” Expert Mike Fuljenz Admonishes Motto’s Critics.

The article is written in response to an Associated Press article about the Childress, TX Police Department drawing criticism from The Freedom From Religion Foundation over their decision to put In God We Trust on their patrol cars.

First of all, Burns’ article appears to be plagiarized. The supposed quotes from Fuljenz appear to have been copied and pasted from a statement released by Fuljenz on a website called Numismatica. Follow the links for PRWeb and Numismatica and compare the content. It is quite obvious that the PRWeb article is a copy and paste job with filler added. Even if it isn’t plagiarized – i.e. Fuljenz gave permission to use his statement – there aren’t any links on Burns’ article to the original by Fuljenz, which is disingenuous at best.

Secondly, the article makes a show of Fuljenz being an “award winning author.” This fact is mentioned no less than three times in Burns’ article. According to his bio, Fuljenz has won awards for “His books, media appearances and newsletters about gold and rare coins.” Fair enough, but that doesn’t make him an expert on In God We Trust – whatever that would be – nor does it make him a historian. Fuljenz is an expert on rare coins and precious metals. He quite comically says in his bio that he is “Known as America’s Gold Expert®.” No, that registered symbol isn’t a typo. Of course, Fuljenz is entitled to his opinion about , but be wary of Greeks bearing credentials and accolades.

Thirdly, Fuljenz’s entire argument for In God We Trust rests on two logical fallacies: an appeal to tradition and an appeal to authority. He says, “Some critics of In God We Trust may be ignorant of the phrase’s legal history or are deliberately ignoring the rulings of courts and resolutions of Congress.” He then goes on to describe the history of In God We Trust. Yes, it is true that there is a long history of use and many court rulings upholding IGWT. However, just because something has been in use for a long time does not automatically make it correct. At the same time, just because an authoritative body says that IGWT is legal does not mean that its use is morally correct. Of these defenses, neither actually answers the charge from opponents that the motto is divisive, discriminatory, or a government endorsement of religiosity.

The lesson here is be on the lookout for bullshit. Often, the proponents of IGWT will be unscrupulous and vague simply to advance their agenda.

Thomas Essel

Thomas Essel is an outspoken secular activist and serves as Assistant Director for The Original Motto Project. Thomas also writes for the Patheos Atheist blog Danthropology and his work has appeared in the Springfield News-Leader. You can contact Thomas at: Thomas@originalmotto.us