The watchdog group Americans United for Separation of Church and State on Tuesday accused Congress of wasting time by voting on a resolution to affirm the phrase “In God We Trust” as the nation’s official motto.
“The American people want action on jobs and the economy, yet this Congress continues to waste time pandering to the Religious Right,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “This meaningless, purely symbolic vote won’t create one job, help one family struggling to pay its mortgage or rebuild one piece of infrastructure.”
“I think we know by now that this Congress likes God. Can we move on?” he added.
The House of Representatives easily passed the resolution by a vote of 396 to 9 on Tuesday.
Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA), the founder and chairman of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, sponsored the legislation. It would encourage the public display of the motto in all public buildings, public schools and government institutions.
Forbes said he introduced the bill in January because he was troubled by a pattern of omitting God from the nation’s heritage.
“Today, as in other times of division and difficulty in our nation’s history, the House of Representatives again reaffirmed ‘In God We Trust’ as our official motto and in so doing, provided clarity amidst a cloud of confusion about our nation’s spiritual heritage and offered inspiration to an American people that face challenges of historic proportion,” he said after the resolution passed.
The phrase “In God We Trust” was made the official U.S. motto in 1956, one year after the phrase “under God” was incorporated into the Pledge of Allegiance.
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