Sarah Palin started off her talk to a Wisconsin pro-life group with this little rhetorical flourish:
In addition to the suggestion that government officials would consider hastening the death of the infirm or handicapped, she began her remarks with a puzzling commentary on the design of newly minted dollar coins.
Noting that there had been a lot of “change” of late, Palin recalled a recent conversation with a friend about how the phrase “In God We Trust” had been moved to the edge of the new coins.
“Who calls a shot like that?” she demanded. “Who makes a decision like that?”
She added: “It’s a disturbing trend.”
Unsaid but implied was that the new Democratic White House was behind such a move to secularize the nation’s currency.
But the new coins – concerns over which apparently stemmed from an email chain letter widely circulated among conservatives – were commissioned by the Republican-led Congress in 2005 and approved by President Bush.
This apparently comes from a chain email when has been circulating for some time — I’ve received it myself, actually — which goes something like this:
This new coin came out this month
The U.S. Mint hopes the redesigned $1 coin will win acceptance with consumers.
It does not have In God We Trust on it. Another way of leaving God out.
Send this on and let consumers decide if it will win acceptance or not.
The problem for Palin, though, is that the claim just isn’t true:
According to the U.S. Mint, an unknown number of new one-dollar George Washington coins (at least 50,000 of them, by one estimate) were erroneously struck without the motto “In God We Trust” and found their way into the batch of 300 million issued on February 15, 2007.
A rumor (see above) began circulating soon afterward to the effect that the religious slogan, which has been a standard inscription on U.S. coins since 1938 and the national motto since 1956, was intentionally omitted from the entire run of one-dollar coins. The rumor is false, though it remains unclear whether it was inspired by the minting error or the fact that the newly designed coin, properly manufactured, bears the inscription “In God We Trust” on its outer edge instead of its face, per the Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005:
Here’s what the edge-on inscription looks like on the Presidential coins that included it:
This is the manner on which the nation’s motto appears on the Presidential coins honoring George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren. In late 2008, Congress changed the law and instructed the Mint to place the motto on either the back or front of the coin. That design chance will be apparent in the 2009 series of coins, starting with the coin honoring William Henry Harrison.
So, see ? Much ado about nothing to begin with.
And yet another example of an area where Sarah should’ve checked her facts before opening her mouth.