News and Tribune

July 29, 2013

CUMMINS: In whom or what do we trust?

Local columnist

Only 10 percent of Americans trust Congress to lead us. That’s pitiful. You can’t trust the Supreme Court either. They’re composed of nine flawed human beings, some of whom can’t think straight. As human beings do, they argue and disagree on most things. The Supreme Court interrupts what the constitution says, and in many cases, it says what a 5-to-4 vote says it is. You can’t trust the president, either, who said, “change you can believe in.” He did not say you could trust the change you believe in. What can a reasonable citizen believe in or trust these days?

If you have one, look at “In God We Trust” on a dime. If you trust in God, then why is a dime practically worthless? Many Americans believe our nation was founded on the principles of the Creator, who is similar to a lifetime president. It is assumed by many that the founding fathers based our foundation upon a type of “religious” doctrine, and we’re known in some circles as a “Christian nation.” There are those, however, who believe our nation has turned away from God’s commandments; too many thou shalt nots.  

When non-religious or “separation” people began questioning the Christian-nation premise, the Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution did separate religion from government. Essentially, the rulings stated that government could not be involved in the establishment of any religion.

The straw that broke the Christian’s back was when government took God and prayer out of schools, causing children to fall further behind. But government didn’t actually remove God from schools, because if God exists, you can’t remove him from anything. Kids can pray in groups at certain times and places in schools. Two football teams can huddle and pray for victory, which puts the referee in a bind. Years ago, an English teacher in one of my schools opened each class with prayer to the Almighty, but it didn’t improve sentence diagrams. In another school, we offered a course in “The Bible as Literature.” The teacher could teach what the Bible said, but he couldn’t convert them. When I was in school taking tests each day, I prayed for answers, and God said, “You’re on your own, Big Boy.” I fell further behind and fell from grace. Maybe I’ll trust in Him, if He’ll trust in me. Nevermind. 

In this eternal religion-in-education conflict, it’s interesting to learn what the founders believed and said. On July 4, 2013, two organizations ran full-page ads in the Louisville Courier-Journal. One was from Need Him Ministry, an advertisement quoting what the founding fathers said about “In God We Trust.” The other ad was sponsored by the Freedom from Religion Foundation that preaches, “In Reason We Trust.” You can send money to both organizations, and as an added benefit, if you need to know Him, call Need Him at 1-800-Need-Him. If you don’t need Him at this time, send money to the Freedom from Religion Foundation.

In establishing our nation’s foundation, Washington, Adams, Jefferson and others referred to the Almighty. Washington said, “It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly implore His protection and favor.” John Adams wrote, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people,” And James Madison believed, “Before any man can be considered as a member of a civil society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governor of the Universe.” Jefferson and others made similar statements.

The trust-in-reason people use their own quotes from the founders. Washington also said, “Religious controversies are always productive of more acrimony and irreconcilable hatreds than those from other causes.” Washington refused to take communion or kneel in prayer in churches. Jefferson wrote, “Question with a boldness the existence of a God; because if there be one, he must more approve the homage or reason than that of blindfolded fear.” Franklin suggested the motto on currency should be, “Mind your business.” He also asked if the founders wanted to pray before the proceedings, “The Convention, except three or four, thought prayer unnecessary.”

It seems to me that we can trust in reason and God, who is reasonable enough. He created a fantastical world for us, and said to take care of it and love all people. How can you split down the middle on that, but we do. If we don’t trust in reason, there is no God.

— Contact Terry Cummins at