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American Humanist Association Decries “In God We Trust” Motto Resolution

Washington, DC, March 18, 2011

American Humanist Association leadership expressed disapproval today of the House Judiciary Committee passage of H. Con. Res 13, which reaffirms the official motto of the United States as “In God We Trust.” The resolution, if passed in the House of Representatives, would encourage the display of “In God We Trust” on public buildings, including government institutions and public schools. 

“This resolution is a blatant offense to the separation of church and state,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “The conservative House is pandering to the religious right by inaccurately portraying America as a ‘Christian nation.’ Millions of Americans who do not believe in God would take issue being forced to silently endorse this motto on the walls of their offices and in the halls of their children’s schools.” 

H. Con. Res 13, which was introduced by Representative Randy Forbes (R – VA), has 64 co-sponsors, comprised largely of Republican members of Congress.  The resolution can be found in its entirety here.

Speckhardt continued, “This resolution is an excuse to take aim at the country’s secular foundation and to push the social conservative agenda.”    

Rather than “In God We Trust,” the American Humanist Association recommends the use of the nation’s original motto, E Pluribus Unum (Latin for “Out of many, one”), which still appears on the national seal in public buildings and is a more inclusive motto that all Americans can embrace.

Bill Burgess, legal coordinator of the Appignani Humanist Legal Center of the American Humanist Association, said, “The resolution expressly encourages the display of this motto in governmental buildings, including in particular our public schools. Such action is inconsistent with Supreme Court decisions that found the posting of religious documents, such as the Ten Commandments, in public schools to be unconstitutional."

The American Humanist Association is urging legislators and mobilizing its 20,000 members and supporters to contact their Representatives to vote against this resolution.


The American Humanist Association (www.americanhumanist.org ) advocates for the rights and viewpoints of humanists. Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., its work is extended through more than 100 local chapters and affiliates across America.

Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism, affirms our responsibility to lead ethical lives of value to self and humanity.