Motto on U.S. coins will be more prominent next year: Will move from edge to front or back of coins

February 12, 2008

The national motto “In God We Trust” will move from the edge of new dollar coins honoring U.S. presidents to the front or back of the currency.

A provision in the $555 billion domestic spending bill for 2008, which President Bush signed into law on December 26, calls for the change to take place “as soon as is practicable.” Greg Hernandez, a spokesperson for the U.S. Mint, said the change will occur in 2009.

The Mint began producing presidential one-dollar coins in 2007, honoring George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, the first four presidents. The words “In God We Trust” were placed along the edge of the coins as instructed by Congress, Hernandez said.

But critics complained about the placement and thought that the words belonged on the front or back of the coins instead. Family Research Council president Tony Perkins said he was pleased with the change, noting that his group had been concerned that “moving ‘In God We Trust’ off the face of our coins was just one step toward removing it altogether.”

The dies have already been produced for the 2008 coins—to feature James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren—so those will still have the motto along the edge.

But come 2009—when William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, James K. Polk and Zachary Taylor will be honored—the motto will be moved. “We have to then redesign either the heads or the tails in order to comply with that,” Hernandez said of the new law.

The motto first appeared on U.S. coins in 1864. “In God We Trust” was included on the back of dollar bills in 1957, a year after Congress declared those words as the country’s motto. –Religion News Service