Letter to the Editor: The meaning behind 'In God We Trust'

Dear Editor:

On the way home from church on the 4th of July, I discussed with my grandchildren the homily where the priest focused on those first generations of American people who had sacrificed in the early days in building this beautiful and prosperous America.

I then brought up the subject of the term “In God We Trust" printed on our currency which is now some people have brought up as an issue, debating whether to remove that term from the printing.

My grandchildren were born here in America and like some other Americans, they don’t understand too much of the value of things they inherit or they tend to value the things in term of material only.

As an immigrant, coming from a country that was torn up by war, hunger, injustice and very limited freedom, I see America differently because of having comparison, even in the current declining value in religious, morality or increase in crimes. America is still maintaining excellent freedom, virtue and morality over many other countries I have experienced. 

The first American generations, or most of them, were very religious. They placed God in the center of their lives, they practiced God love into the love toward each other, sacrificed their sweat and blood toward the goal of building a good society and a strong country of America. The value they passed on to us is the spiritual value that inspires the world, example:

Assistance to the world: America is called the police of the world. American forces are always response to the calls of any country, friends or even enemies in any circumstance.

In area of charity: Americans have been in many poor and underdeveloped, suffering countries such as Africa in the fields of healthcare and education. They work voluntarily and accept a poor living condition, and sometimes risk their lives.

In rescue mission: Americans are always in front line of offering assistance to any rescue need anywhere in the world.

The above lofty characters were contributed by millions of heroes who had placed God in their lives and from God they have experienced in spiritual lives, strong mind, high morality down to excellent physical energy to fight for independence and freedom, developing the prosperous country. They applied the love of God into love for each other and sacrifice for each other. Their religious way of life had become the American heritage we have no right to criticize but appreciate.

The term “In God We Trust" in our currency, as any other monuments around the country, does not just represent a term for religious or Christian. It has become more of the American history, tradition, morality and virtue. It is the American logo. This is not the question of religious freedom.

Many people, even the people in the enemy country, love to come and live here, for different reasons: economy opportunity, freedom, education. American life is a dream for millions. I can say that as an immigrant, having lived in other countries, I and many foreigners see the value of life in America much different than many American born.

In this modern life today, many of us use to see things different with our ancestors, we think more of material than spiritual life, we concern more of our own individual benefit rather the benefit of others, even between members in family, husband and wife, parent and children.
The idea of love, morality, responsibility, sacrifice has lesser and lesser meaning. We tend to criticize, complain, demonstrate excessively and incite riots that many times causes terrible damages to innocent people.

A beautiful story: President Ly, of Singapore, visited President Mao of China. President Mao, who was in bed during his last days, asked President Ly: What made America so strong? President Ly answered: Because Americans go to church (Americans observe spiritual life).

Let’s set back and take a moment to reset ourselves into the American proper value.

Quinn Nuyen