It is crucial for us to understand the history of our democracy, including our nation’s darkest moments — moments when we compromised our most fundamental ideals, and violated the rights guaranteed by our Constitution. It is in these moments that courageous Americans stood up for our values, and it is these moments that we must look back on and learn from to ensure that we do not make the same mistakes.
The original motto of the United States was E Pluribus Unum — which means “out of many, one.” This sentiment encapsulates the American melting pot, where people of all walks of life can come together to pursue the American dream and unite around our shared vision of a nation where every individual has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In God We Trust did not become our national motto until an Act of Congress in 1956. Just two years prior in 1954, Congress changed the original Pledge of Allegiance to add the words one nation under God, indivisible, when previously the words were one nation, indivisible.
These actions took place in a dark moment of our history known as the Red Scare. It was an atmosphere of witch hunts and blacklists for suspected communists and atheists, who were seen as enemies of the state who could potentially be spying for the “atheistic Soviet Union.” Our national motto and Pledge of Allegiance are some of the most prominent displays of American patriotism. They should be inclusive symbols of unity that represent our values. Unfortunately, the altered versions are relics of a time when our nation failed to live up to its values, and they continue to betray
The Secular Coalition for America is calling on Congress to restore the national motto and the Pledge of Allegiance to their original forms. The first step is to educate our legislators and the public. Help us raise awareness by contacting your legislators and sharing this information with your friends.