I strongly endorse the Slightly Rev. Bob Layne’s observation that “E Pluribus Unum” (“from many, one”) is our one significant national motto, for the reasons he gives and others.

As for “In God we trust,” I remember the cynical signs that appeared in businesses after it was proclaimed: “In God we trust: all others pay cash.” Used officially, it is an establishment of religion, and prohibited by our constitution.

Besides, to those who have not closed their eyes to the evil existing in the world, the only possible “trust” in God is that he does not exist. If he did, evil would exist only by design, as the expression of his will, and the human condition would be hopeless. A deity who allowed the world to exist in its existing state would be a devil, not a god, adopting the mask of benevolence only to confuse human beings and inure them to evil. God inspires by contrast, by horrible example. No matter how bad things are, they are not as bad as they would be if he existed. If evil is merely happenstance, it can be overcome eventually through human evolution.

Peter de Vries said that the final proof of God’s omnipotence is that he need not exist in order to save us. I would add that the final proof of his benevolence is that he does not exist.

Similarly, to say the nation is “under God” is an insult both to the nation and to God as rigorously defined. The inclusion of this phrase in a formal pledge of allegiance is again an unconstitutional establishment of religion.

Wesley Koehler, McPherson