The subject of In God We Trust on our coinage is one of those challenging emotional issues that rarely see two sides duking it out. For folks that feel strongly about the Motto, and believe it should enjoy a position of emphasis on our coins, the issue took on a life of its own. People wrote letters and began viral email marketing campaigns (aka chain letters) to stir up support for the cause. But people on the other side of the issue, the people who really don't care where the Motto appears (or indeed, if it appears at all,) generally didn't get their dander up over the matter, and so for the most part, only one side of the issue was heard by Congress, thus the changes that have became law.
The comments I received from readers were fairly mixed when it comes to placing the Motto back on the faces. Some excerpts:
Don’t our legislators have better things to do with their time than micromanaging coin design? National health insurance, for example? Balancing the budget? --gdnp
“One Nation Under God” should fill the remainder of the incused rim. --Phil
The U.S.Mint is becoming the Wal-Mart of the gov. Creating more designs to sell. As for “In God We Trust” it should never have moved to the edge. --Gary Wilson
God giveth. And God taketh away!! It doesn't matter to me where the motto ends up, as long as they don’t remove it. Which would take “another” act of congress to do. -coinycom
If ¨In God We Trust¨ is moved to the face of the coin, ¨E Pluribus Unum¨ better be also. That was and is still the primary text representing our country. But then we might as well drop edge lettering entirely, but my preference is to keep it as-is. --Frank
I’m again hearing grumbling from all those people who want the “God” reference removed from coins citing separation in the Constitution. Actually they should probably read the Constitution which actually says the Gov’t should aid the practice of religion. Amazing how many people yell tolerance and haven’t figured out their tolerance only applies to those who agree with them. --Frank (Ed. Note: This is a different "Frank." Perhaps people who comment could start adding their last initial?)The legislation mandating this edge lettering change stipulates that the change should take effect as soon as is "practicable." The next Presidential Dollar, the James Monroe coin, will be issued on Feb. 14, 2008, but many, if not most of these coins are probably already struck, given that they need time to wend their way through the Federal Reserve System's distribution network to the banks (which can start requesting them 2 weeks ahead of release.) Therefore, the soonest that we might see the edge lettering change would be the John Quincy Adams coin set for May 15th. Of course, the Mint could also opt to make the edge lettering change in mid-stream, making two varieties for one or more Presidential Dollar issues, but my feeling is that the Mint, which seems to abhor the tiniest deviance from the norm, will wait to make the change wholly in one given issue. This would, of course, result in the inevitable accidental release of coins with the wrong inscriptions on the edge, so perhaps the Mint is better off mixing them up after all. Anyway, they probably have some stock of edge lettering dies to use up that have the In God We Trust on them and we all hate wasting taxpayer money, right?
Update: The U.S. Mint has announced that the soonest it can make the edge lettering change is 2009, because the dies have already been set for the 2008 series of coins. The designs for the 2008 Presidential Dollars can be seen in the Presidential Dollar Photo Gallery.