The phrase "E Pluribus Unum" has appeared on American coinage since the earliest days of our country. It was first used in 1795, appearing on the Half Eagle ($5.00 gold piece). The motto was suggested by the committee appointed on July 4, 1776, to design "a seal for the United States of America." From the Latin, the words are translated, "Out of Many, One." The motto alludes to the union between the 13 original States and the federal government as symbolized by the shield on the eagle's breast of the Great Seal. In 1956 the United States adopted as its official motto the phrase, "In God We Trust." This phrase has also appeared on U.S. coins since 1864 and on paper currency since 1957. The phrase comes from the Psalms. (Psalm 56:4)

"Out of Many, One" expresses the complexity of the people who make up this country. We come from many countries and cultures making this nation our home. We honor the lands from which we came, experience the diversity of our cultures, and attempt to share a common identity as one people under God.

For the most part, we live up to this identity. But it hasn't been easy. African Americans, the LGBTQ community, Native Americans, immigrants fleeing violence in their countries, and others have suffered from prejudice and unequal justice over the years. Divisions within religious institutions have also been prevalent especially between Christians and Muslims. Jews are once again being persecuted.

One would hope that if we cannot see God as the Creator of all people who sees each of us as God's beloved child, we could at least live up to mottos of our country that call us to be one people under God. We have a way to go to achieve "out of many, one," but with open minds and open hearts, we may learn to see and accept one another as fellow citizens entitled to equal love and justice.