Thankful for Public Servants

By Tim Cooley

By Tim Cooley, Shepherd Project Ministries

Thanksgiving.  It’s a time to reflect and give thanks for all our blessings over the past year.  Even though many of us have perhaps experienced set-backs with respect to health, finances, relationships, and careers, those of us in America have many blessings.  One of the blessings I find that I often overlook is the many elected officials who are Christian men and women and stand for Biblical values.

The United States was founded 235 years ago on Biblical principles.  The belief and proclamation that all mankind is endowed with unalienable rights from God; the precept that all men are created equal and this right, this entitlement, is bestowed upon us by our very Creator; these founding principles are set forth in Scripture[1] and are not the fabrication by men.  John Hancock wrote:

“Resistance to tyranny becomes the Christian and social duty of each individual. … Continue steadfast and, with a proper sense of your dependence on God, nobly defend those rights which heaven gave, and no man ought to take from us.[2]

Twenty-four of the fifty-six signers of the Declaration of Independence had seminary or Bible school degrees.  As it was in 1776, so it is today that we have several Christian men and women who serve as our representatives in Congress.  I’ve personally met the Honorable Randy Forbes, Representative from the 4th District of Virginia.  Randy is a strong Christian man and does not shy away from advancing and supporting Christian values.  He is the Chairman of the Congressional Prayer Caucus of which 100 members of the US House of Representatives belong[3].  He was also the author and primary sponsor of a bill which passed the House by a vote of 396-9 on 1 November 2011.  I offer some remarks from Congressman Forbes regarding this bill:

[1] Galatians 3:26-29

[2] History of the United States of America, Vol II, pg 229

[3] For a list of the Congressional Prayer Caucus members see


In God We Still Trust
Sometimes what needs to be done is obvious. Today in America, one of those priorities is addressing jobs. We must empower businesses to create jobs. We must increase competitiveness for U.S. manufacturing. We must pay down America’s unsustainable debt burden. 

But other times, what needs to be done is subtle. It may not be the headline of a national newspaper or the breaking news alert that comes across your Blackberry. Nevertheless, it is essential.

This week the House took up legislation I introduced that would reaffirm our national motto, In God We Trust, and encourage its display in public buildings and government institutions.  The bill has 64 bipartisan cosponsors and was reported favorably out of the House Judiciary Committee earlier this year in March. The legislation will not directly address the jobs situation in America. Yet, its subtle significance is too strong to ignore.

Speckled throughout our nation’s history, “In God We Trust” has guided our nation. It provided a foundation upon which we established our government. It offered hope to a war-torn nation as brother fought brother on the fields of Gettysburg. It directed President Roosevelt as he addressed Americans on D-Day asking them to join him in praying “Help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice… As we rise to each new day, and again when each day is spent, let words of prayer be on our lips, invoking Thy help to our effort.”  The motto has been inscribed on doorways and on our coins. It has been boldly proclaimed in speeches from President Lincoln, to President Kennedy, to President Reagan, to President Clinton.

But today, there is a brewing and disturbing pattern of inaccuracy and omissions regarding the motto that has arisen in the public square. The Department of Veterans Affairs attempted to ban flag folding recitations at military funerals that referenced God or religion, even if specifically requested by the family of the deceased. The U.S. Mint attempted to remove the inscription “In God We Trust” from the front of the new Presidential dollar and instead print it on the edge of the coin. The Architect of the Capitol refused a teen’s request for a certificate noting his grandfather’s “love of God, country and family” to accompany a souvenir flag that had flown over the building – a decision that would have prohibited even the Pledge of Allegiance from being printed on the flag certificates. Even the President of the United States, before a worldwide audience, in a much-anticipated and much-publicized speech focusing on the United States’ relationship with the Muslim world, falsely proclaimed that our national motto was E pluribus unum.

These efforts come on top of  rogue court challenges – there have been seven since 1996 – and misunderstandings of the phrase “Separation of Church and State,” despite the fact that the Supreme Court has held, “The First Amendment, however, does not say that in every and all respects there shall be a separation of Church and State. . . We find no constitutional requirement which makes it necessary for government to be hostile to religion.”

These efforts are disturbing because Americans know “In God We Trust” is a fundamental characteristic of our nation. In troubling times, our nation has consistently looked towards that one simple truth for hope. After nearly a decade of Great Depression, President Roosevelt declared “Thus from our earliest recorded history, Americans have thanked God for their blessings. In our deepest natures, in our very souls, we, like all mankind since the earliest origin of mankind, turn to God in time of trouble and in time of happiness. In God We Trust.”

Today, we face difficult times once again. Unemployment has consistently hovered just under 10%. It takes the average job seeker 40.5 weeks to find a job – the longest average time that Americans have been unemployed since the statistic was first recorded in 1948. Our national debt threatens the future of our children and grandchildren. Many Americans feel their country is slipping from their fingertips. And when they see “In God We Trust” slipping from our history books and being removed from the center of our guiding principles, reaffirming that truth becomes important to them.

And so Tuesday night, the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to reaffirm “’In God We Trust” as our official motto. While this reaffirmation may not directly create jobs, it offers optimism during tumultuous times.  It provides clarity amidst a cloud of confusion about our nation’s spiritual heritage and offers inspiration to an American people that face challenges of historic proportion.

It is not just a reaffirmation of four words. It is a reaffirmation of the American spirit. It is a recommitment to the principles that define our nation. It is America looking boldly in the face of challenge and declaring we will have a hopeful future. It is America declaring in God we still trust.

Congressman Forbes is only one of several who stand for Biblical principles and I single him out because I have met him and talked with him and know he is sincere.  I am thankful for people like Congressman Forbes who uphold our views amidst much opposition.  So, as we pause to give thanks for food on our tables, for warm clothes on our backs, for friends and family who support us, don’t forget to thank God for those who bring the Christian message to our legislature.  Thank God that there are those who are unafraid and unashamed to stand for the principles that founded our country; these principles do not seem to be in favor anymore.

If you have a moment I urge you to send an e-mail or a letter to a public official, who you have seen stand up for Christian values, and let them know that you support them.  I’m sure that virtually every day they fight those who desire the Bible and all things religious to be eradicated or at least taken out of the mainstream of everyday American life.  Let them know they are not alone in the fight.

[1] Galatians 3:26-29

[2] History of the United States of America, Vol II, pg 229

[3] For a list of the Congressional Prayer Caucus members see