UPDATE: Comings and Goings

It’s been awhile since we’ve posted an update and over on our Facebook page it seems like there is very little going on, but we actually have quite a few things in the works. So here is a brief update of our comings and goings.

About a week ago, our National Director Robert Ray sent out an email to the commissioners of Fayette County Georgia. The board of commissioners for the county recently approved the display of . During his correspondence with Commissioner Steve Brown, Robert requested that or its English equivalent be posted alongside In God We Trust. After some reservation, and much to our surprise, Commissioner Brown said that he would be willing to bring up the possibility of displaying From Many, One at a future meeting. Brown told us, “’’’ certainly holds a place in United States history and is deserving of recognition as well.” We here at The Original Motto Project would like to extend our sincere thanks to Commissioner Brown for his willingness to compromise and his recognition of our viewpoint. We often get told to go fly a kite, so Commissioner Brown’s sentiment is greatly appreciated.

Speaking of sending letters, we have a new standard letter that we send out to government agencies that are displaying or thinking about displaying In God We Trust. You can view the letter in italics below:

To Whom it may concern:

It has come to our attention that it is the intention of this governing body to prominently display the motto In God We Trust. We would like to make our dissent known and offer an alternative. First, however, let us introduce ourselves.

We are The Original Motto Project, a nonprofit organization that advocates for the prominent display of the Latin motto E Pluribus Unum (From Many, One) as one that represents the truly inclusive nature of American society. Our message is one of inclusiveness: it takes all points of view, and sometimes the quarrels between those competing viewpoints, to make America the richly pluralistic society that it is.

In God We Trust, though it is currently enshrined by law as the official motto of the United States, is inherently divisive. Not only does it exclude a significant minority – i.e. the nonreligious – but it also excludes those religions that believe in multiple gods, as well as those that believe in none (like Buddhists). Furthermore, it is an unfortunate fact that many government agents and agencies who display the motto believe it to be an overt endorsement of Christian belief. When used in such a context, In God We Trust violates the most sacred of American principles: the separation of church and state.

E Pluribus Unum, we believe, is a motto that encapsulates the variety of experience and belief in this great country. It first appeared on the seal of the United States in 1776, where it represented the union of colonies, who, despite deeply rooted differences amongst themselves, united to throw off the shackles of oppressive and arbitrary governance.

While you may still choose, of course, to display the motto In God We Trust, we here at The Original Motto Project humbly ask that you consider a compromise that can satisfy both viewpoints on this issue: mount E Pluribus Unum (or its English equivalent) in an equally prominent and honorable place alongside In God We Trust.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

In other news, we are gearing up for in Springfield, Missouri. The Springfield Freethinkers we kind enough to allow us space at their booth free of charge, so a heartfelt thank you to their board of directors. Also, we need donations so that we can offer literature and saw; so cough it up, people! A little goes a long way, even if it is only five or ten dollars. You can donate to help us put our best face forward at our GoFundMe.

Some more stuff: I was invited to go on The Godless Engineer podcast to talk about In God We Trust and the issues surrounding the motto. That should be up sometime this week and links will be provided once its available. Thanks to the Godless Engineer for putting up with my ramblings for an hour!

And finally, on October 18th Robert Ray will be on the Road to Reason podcast to discuss In God We Trust. So, a big thank you to the Road to Reason team. Links will be provided once it is available.

I think that just about covers everything! Until next time, keep on keepin’ on.

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