[Congressional Bills 106th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[H. Res. 548 Engrossed in House (EH)]


                 In the House of Representatives, U.S.,

                                                         July 24, 2000.
Whereas the national motto of the United States is ``In God we trust'';
Whereas the national motto was adopted in 1956 and is codified in the laws of 
        the United States at section 302 of title 36, United States Code;
Whereas the national motto is a reference to the Nation's ``religious heritage'' 
        (Lynch v. Donnelly, 465 U.S. 668, 676 (1984));
Whereas the national motto recognizes the religious beliefs and practices of the 
        American people as an aspect of our national history and culture;
Whereas nearly every criminal law on the books can be traced to some religious 
        principle or inspiration;
Whereas the national motto is deeply interwoven into the fabric of our civil 
        polity;
Whereas the national motto recognizes the historical fact that our Nation was 
        believed to have been founded ``under God'';
Whereas the content of the national motto is as old as the Republic itself and 
        has always been as integral a part of the first amendment as the very 
        words of that charter of religious liberty;
Whereas the display and teaching of the national motto to public school children 
        has a valid secular purpose, such secular purpose being to foster 
        patriotism, symbolize the historical role of religion in our society, 
        express confidence in the future, inculcate hope, and instruct in 
        humility;
Whereas there is a long tradition of government acknowledgment of religion in 
        mottoes, oaths, and anthems;
Whereas the national motto serves ``the legitimate secular purposes of 
        solemnizing public occasions, expressing confidence in the future, and 
        encouraging the recognition of what is worthy of appreciation in 
        society'' (Lynch v. Donnelly, 465 U.S. at 693 (O'Connor, J., 
        concurring));
Whereas the national motto reflects the sentiment that ``[w]e are a religious 
        people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being'' (Zorach v. 
        Clauson, 343 U.S. 306, 313 (1952));
Whereas President George Washington, in his Farewell Address, stated, ``[o]f all 
        the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion 
        and morality are indispensable supports,'' and ``[w]hatever may be 
        conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar 
        structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national 
        morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle,'' and ``let us 
        with caution indulge the supposition that morality can prevail in 
        exclusion of religious principle'';
Whereas President John Adams wrote that it is religion and morality alone which 
        can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand;
Whereas the role of religion in public life is an important one which deserves 
        the public's attention;
Whereas the signers of the Declaration of Independence appealed to the Supreme 
        Judge of the World for the rectitude of their intentions, and avowed a 
        firm reliance of the protection of Divine Providence;
Whereas President George Washington, in his First Inaugural Address, said that 
        ``it would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official act my 
        fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the 
        universe, who presides in the councils of nations, and whose 
        providential aids can supply every human defect, that His benediction 
        may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the people of the 
        United States a Government instituted by themselves for these essential 
        purposes'';
Whereas the First Congress urged President George Washington to proclaim ``a day 
        of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with 
        grateful hearts the many single favours of Almighty God'';
Whereas the First Congress reenacted the Northwest Ordinance, which stated that 
        ``[r]eligion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good 
        government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of 
        education shall forever be encouraged'';
Whereas the Declaration of Independence demonstrates this Nation was founded on 
        transcendent values which flow from a belief in a Supreme Being;
Whereas the Founding Fathers believed devotedly that there was a God and that 
        the unalienable rights of man were rooted in Him, is clearly evidenced 
        in their writings, from the Mayflower Compact to the Constitution 
        itself;
Whereas religion has been closely identified with the history and Government of 
        the United States;
Whereas our national life reflects a religious people who earnestly pray that 
        the Supreme Lawgiver guide them in every measure which may be worthy of 
        His blessing; and
Whereas the national motto is prominently engraved in the wall above the 
        Speaker's dais in the Chamber of the House of Representatives, appears 
        over the entrance to the Chamber of the Senate, and is depicted on all 
        United States coins and currency: Now, therefore, be it
    Resolved, That the House of Representatives encourages the display of the 
national motto of the United States in public buildings throughout the Nation.
            Attest:

                                                                          Clerk.