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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Invoking God

Presidents have frequently invoked God, and President Obama is no exception

In remarks in Washington today, he said:

Everybody here -- we are Americans. We’re not people who sit back and watch things happening. And if Congress tells you they don’t have time -- they’ve got time to do it. We’ve been -- in the House of Representatives, what have you guys been debating? John, you’ve been debating a commemorative coin for baseball? (Laughter.) You had legislation reaffirming that “In God We Trust” is our motto? That’s not putting people back to work. I trust in God, but God wants to see us help ourselves by putting people back to work. (Applause.)

In his daily briefing, White House press secretary Jay Carney had this exchange:

Q Okay, and on the President’s speech today, he referenced the House action yesterday on the “In God We Trust” motto and said, “I trust in God, but God wants to see us help ourselves by putting people back to work.” I mean, isn’t it a bit much to bring God into the jobs debate?

MR. CARNEY: Well, I believe the phrase from the Bible* is, “The Lord helps those who help themselves.” And I think the point the President is making is that we should -- we have it within our capacity to do the things to help the American people. And that’s why he’s working so hard to get Congress to take action on the American Jobs Act and the provisions therein. And he -- because he believes it’s in the interest of the American people that that action be taken and certainly believes that Americans who are unemployed, who are looking for work, deserve the attention of Washington, the attention of Congress as well as of the President in their policymaking decisions. It’s a number-one priority for him, getting the economy growing faster and getting the economy creating more jobs.

Now, he was obviously making this particular reference in the context of inaction by the House of Representatives, which has spent time on issues like commemorative Hall of Fame baseball coins and reaffirming a motto that I don’t think anyone doubted, which is that “In God We Trust” is our motto. So his point was simply that the House should get busy with matters of great importance to the United States and to the American people.

The White House added this asterisk next to the mention of the Bible: "*This common phrase does not appear in the Bible."