If you’re a Facebook user, chances are pretty good that every few months you see one of those chain messages being passed around about how newly-minted American money is going to remove “In God We Trust” from its inscriptions. While those messages aren’t true as of this point, they do tend to cause quite a bit of controversy and uproar among Christians who believe that one key phrase will no longer be in use. Every few years the folks at the ACLU do their best to remove public displays of the Ten Commandments and to keep “In God We Trust” off of new monuments because of the flawed interpretation of the concept of separation of church and state.
My question to all of this uproar over keeping “In God We Trust” off of public money, buildings, and anything else is this: Who cares?
By that I don’t mean that In God We Trust shouldn’t be written on public displays or that it doesn’t matter that certain people are trying to erase the phrase. I’m simply pointing out that we should reconsider our thoughts on this issue and ask what the point is, what we’re really fighting for.
The problem is that we are more concerned with whether In God We Trust is engraved on blocks of stone or metal coins than we are with it being engraved on people’s hearts. Consider where we stand today: God’s name is currently inscribed all over the buildings in Washington, D.C., yet our nation has still legally slaughtered over 50 million innocent babies in the womb, marriage has been repeatedly compromised by laws and court rulings decade after decade, and the percentage of people in this country who actually recognize Jesus as Lord of all creation by their actions rather than just saying it is embarrassingly low. Much like the church in Laodicea in Revelation 3, our trust is not in God but in our wealth. They trusted in their wealth, their lavish clothing, and their revolutionary medical care. We trust in our wealth, our security, and our heritage as a nation that once saw God as the supreme ruler of the universe.
Are we not like the Pharisees John the immerser preached against in Matthew 3, who put their trust in their Abrahamic bloodline? They were always pointing to the past and defending it with their lives while completely ignoring the teachings that affected their hearts and how they treated those around them. When we defend our national spiritual heritage without realizing that that spiritual heritage means nothing to today’s people, we’ve missed the point of the Gospel. It doesn’t matter who you are or what your past is if you aren’t serving God in the present.
So, I’ll ask again: Who cares if In God We Trust is still on our buildings or coins if people don’t believe it? We have to remember that our work is about souls and the eternal consequences of disobedience. Buildings and coins don’t have to fear the fires of hell if they don’t bear God’s name, but people do. When we share articles on Facebook about how our nation is turning from God if we take His name off of things but don’t care to share the Gospel with our neighbor, we’ve completely missed the point. Our nation is taking God’s name off of its monuments because it has turned from God, not the other way around. Don’t just fight for the monument, fight for the souls of the people who want to deny God.
In God We Trust means nothing if people don’t actually trust God. That’s just basic logic. If we want to live in a nation and a world where that phrase truly means something again and can be spoken freely in every place, we have to become the salt and light that Jesus called His followers to be in Matthew 5. We have to take the Great Commission upon ourselves and show people why they need to put their trust in God.
By Jack Wilkie
Jack Wilkie is the author of “Failure: What Christian Parents Need to Know About American Education” and is the speaker for Focus Press’s “The Lost Generation” seminar. To schedule a seminar at your church, contact jack@focuspress.org.