Responding to complaints from the Religious Right, Congress has passed legislation mandating that the phrase "In God We Trust" be moved from the edge to the back or front of the new presidential dollar coins.
President George W. Bush signed the measure into law Dec. 26. It was tucked into a $555 billion domestic spending bill after having been pushed by U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.). Brownback and other Religious Right conservatives have been complaining about the new coins since the series started last year.
The U.S. Mint has been releasing gold-colored dollars honoring each non-living U.S. president. Four coins are released per year. The first four coins, honoring George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, were issued in 2007.
Under a mandate from Congress, the Mint was required to place the national mottos "In God We Trust" and "E Pluribus Unum" along the edge of the coins. The idea was to allow for more dramatic portraits on the obverses of the coins and better art elements on the reverses.
But many in the Religious Right went ballistic after a batch of coins was inadvertently produced without the mottos on the edge. They also complained that the words were hard to read and that they would wear off over time.
Officials at the Mint say the dies for the 2008 coins, which honor James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren, have already been produced, so the change will not...