By Peyton Majors
Christian Action League
March 3, 2023
A North Carolina legislator introduced a bill this week that would require the national motto “In God We Trust” to be placed prominently in both legislative chambers, saying it would serve as a “constant reminder” that legislators are serving God in their elected roles.
The bill, H.B. 215, would direct the legislative services officer to display “In God We Trust” directly “above and behind the dais of the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate.” The bill references the motto’s usage in Washington, D.C.
“The display shall be consistent with the historic and patriotic display of the national motto located directly above and behind the dais of the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives,” the bill says.
Rep. Ben Moss, a Republican who represents Richmond and Moore Counties, introduced the bill. It has 31 co-sponsors. The bill’s Senate companion is SB 191.
“North Carolina is one state, and part of one nation under God,” Moss said in a statement. “Having our national motto, ‘In God We Trust,’ in the center of the House Chamber will serve as a constant reminder that with every vote we take, we do as an act of service to the Lord our God and to help advance His Kingdom in our elected capacity — and I believe strongly that this legislation will help retain our religious founding and our Nation’s identity.”
The Christian Action League supports the bill.
“In Washington, our national motto, ‘In God We Trust,’ appears opposite the President of the United States Senate, who is also the Vice President of the United States,” said Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “The same phrase in very large letters appears in the marble, and backdrops the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. I know that I speak for all of the churches who support the Christian Action League when I say we are thrilled Rep. Moss has filed a bill to have ‘In God We Trust” placed before our state’s Senate and House.”
The Christian Action League, Creech said, is “willing to help bring about its passage in any way we can.”
“Absolutely necessary to the survival of this nation is this forceful and explicit statement that the hope and strength of our great state and nation is not in our own intellect, ingenuities or even inclusiveness,” Creech said. “Our strength and our hope, as a people, is primarily determined by our trust in the God of the Bible.”
Moss is partnering with the U.S. Motto Action Committee, whose mission is to “defend, promote, and assist in the awareness and furtherance of our nation’s motto, ‘In God We Trust.’”
According to the bill’s language, private funds would pay for the two displays if they are raised within 90 days of the bill’s implementation. If private funds are not received, the bill allows the “use funds available to cover any costs incurred from implementing the requirement.”
Federal courts have upheld the public display of the national motto as constitutional. In 2018, the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the phrase as constitutional on U.S. currency, ruling that the motto’s public use “does not compel citizens to engage in a religious observance.”
“Placing the motto on money is rationally related to the Government’s legitimate goal of honoring religion’s role in American life and in the protection of fundamental rights,” the Eighth Circuit ruled.
“The Supreme Court has long recognized the ‘unbroken history of official acknowledgment by all three branches of government of the role of religion in American life from at least 1789,’” the court ruled. The decision noted that the “First Congress made it an early item of business to appoint and pay official chaplains, and both the House and Senate have maintained the office virtually uninterrupted since that time.”
The U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal of that Eighth Circuit ruling.