Congressional Prayer Caucus asks for ‘correction’ to ‘E pluribus unum’

By David Edwards
Monday, January 3, 2011 17:16 EDT
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Members of the Congressional Prayer Caucus wrote to President Barack Obama last month to ask that he correct speeches they say disregard the nation’s religious heritage.

The members took specific exception to a speech the president gave in Jakarta, Indonesia on Nov. 10, 2010, where he referred to the US motto as E pluribus unum.

The words are Latin, meaning “Out of many, one.”

E pluribus unum is not our national motto,” the letter (.pdf) said. “In 1956, Congress passed and President Eisenhower approved the law establishing ‘In God We Trust’ as the official national motto of the United States.”

Obama used the term E pluribus unum in his speech to illustrate that in America, like other nations, “hundreds of millions who hold different beliefs can be united in freedom under one flag.”

Wikipedia lists E pluribus unum as one of the mottoes of the United States and notes that it was the de facto motto until 1956, when “In God We Trust” was officially adopted.

“Additionally, during three separate events this fall, when quoting from the Declaration of Independence, you mentioned that we have inalienable rights, but consistently failed to mention the source of the rights. The Declaration of Independence definitively recognizes God, our Creator, as the source of our rights. Omitting the word ‘Creator’ once was a mistake; but twice establishes a pattern,” the group complained.

“As members of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, a bi-partisan group of 68 Members of the United States House of Representatives, we are dedicated to preserving America’s religious heritage and protecting our religious liberty,” they continued. “We respectively request that you issue a correction to the speech you gave, as it does not accurately reflect America and serves to undercut an important part of our history.”

Writing for conservative opinion outlet World Net Daily in late November, Chuck Norris also complained that Obama had dissed the almighty. “I discovered actually seven presidential ‘Creator’ omissions in just the past few months!” he wrote.

“As President Ronald Reagan warned, ‘If we ever forget that we’re one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under,’” the Congressional Prayer Caucus concluded.

The letter was signed by 42 members of Congress.

Many in the conservative evangelical community have attempted to undermine the president’s public declaration of Christian faith. The president has repeatedly said he is a Christian “by choice” and that the “precepts of Jesus Christ spoke to me.”

Many Republicans have also attempted to falsely label the president a Muslim who was secretly born outside of the US. A poll taken last April showed that only 58 percent of voters felt certain that President Obama is an American.

David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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