| Book Review
In God We Don’t Trust
By Mike Atnip
from The Heartbeat of the Remnant • November/December 2011
It’s a good thing author David Bercot was not born in
1730. He could very well be sporting some chicken
feathers by now. I mean, you don’t tell American
patriots that they are really rebellious rabble rousers
who should quit their whining about paying a three cents
tax on their cup of tea and get back to work. Like, you
shouldn’t expect to tell them that without getting tarred
and feathered and driven out of
town. Or, perhaps, even lynched.
But Bercot raises his voice and
makes a bold statement in his latest
book, In God We Don’t Trust. He
has the audacity to say that, even
though our US coins state otherwise,
the United States of America
was not founded on trust in God.
So it is David Bercot against
millions of pennies, nickels, dimes,
and quarters … not to mention the
millions of paper bills that make up
our United States currency. Can so
much money be wrong?
But more important than disproving
a slogan pressed into every
penny of our financial system,
Bercot has a greater foe to face:
Professing Christians in the United
States of America are determined to
prove that our nation was built upon trust in God. In fact,
they are trying to teach your children that, by means of
school history books.
So, the battle is not merely the correct historical facts.
The battle is about how you and your children view the
mixture between faith and politics. And David Bercot is
asking to get himself tarred and feathered. He is adamant:
The United States of America was not built on trust in
What is “trust in God”?
Bercot doesn’t beat around the bush. “Trust means
obedience.” Notice those quote marks? That is because
those words are pulled straight from the book. In fact,
they are a chapter subheading. To trust God means to do
what He says. Bercot says it this way: “Genuine faith leads people to obey
God. When we deliberately refuse to obey God, it shows we don’t have faith in
the first place.”
So now Bercot has the challenge before
him. Anyone can spout off statements
that are contrary to popular belief.
In fact, some folks seem to thrive on
conspiracy theories. So can he back his
proposition with some facts? He has a
monumental task. I mean, everyone
knows that the American colonies were
being cruelly taxed to death, and that is
the reason they finally had to rebel and
throw off the galling yoke of British
Can David Bercot prove otherwise?
Oops, Some Indians Are In Our Way
When Columbus finally discovered America many
centuries after the Asian people had already been here,
the Europeans ran into a huge problem. And the problem
was, of course, they couldn’t just move into this newly
discovered land; others were already living here. Or could
they just move in?
Bercot treats that situation in a chapter titled “The
Wrong Way to Spread the Gospel.” He points out that although
the first charters for English settlements in America listed the evangelization of the “savages” as one of
their motives, the writing between the lines of the charters
essentially said “we have a God-given right to live in
America, whether the Indians like it or not.” Included in
the chapter is a blood-curdling quote from U.S. President
Theodore Roosevelt. You will need to read it for the shock
of it to fully hit you. But I will pull one sentence for a
teaser: “The most ultimately righteous of all wars is a war
with savages …”
And “In God We Trust”? Hmmmm. Bercot sums up the
horrible situation with some thoughtful words: “It’s hard to teach someone else to obey commandments of Jesus when you aren’t practicing them yourself.”
In Tobacco And Guns We Trust
Can you imagine your dollar bills printed with such a
slogan? Delving into old historical documents, the author
spends several chapters describing how that the first
English colonies in America were really founded upon a
trust in guns and money. The two worked together quite
well. They made fortunes with tobacco, and used the guns
to quell any problems the Indians might have because
they took more of their land to raise more tobacco.
Next, we throw some rum into the equation. And to
make the whole system work, add some African slaves.
It was called “The Golden Triangle,” because those who
knew how to operate the system could earn a lot of mammon.
Take rum to Africa and trade it for slaves. Then
load the slaves onto ships (giving them 39 inches of head
room, and 13 inches of floor space per person) and trade
them for molasses in the West Indies. From there, haul the
molasses to distilleries in New England, where the molasses
was turned into rum. Repeat the cycle and fill your
bank account again. (And make sure that you print “In
God We Trust” on your money in the bank after you rebel
against paying taxes on your profit …)
Did it matter that the whole system was full of disgusting
evil? It didn’t seem to matter to those who were making
the profits, most of whom would have been professing
Christians. And what would happen if you founded a
country on such a system? Good question.
Yet, not everyone …
There were some bright spots. Bercot spends a chapter
detailing how one man built a colony on different
principles. William Penn did things like Jesus would
have, at least in many ways. Even though the king of
England gave him a huge chunk of America to pay off a
debt, Penn realized that the Indians were the real owners.
So he paid them for the land he used. And not only that,
freedom of conscience was given to all the colonists who
settled there. In fact, Penn’s colony had more religious
liberty than the current United States of America does.
The Revolutionary Rebellion
Bercot then moves into the founding of the United
States of America. He tells of the various acts of English
Parliament and the American reaction. While American
historians depict the English as heavy-handed despots
who wanted to milk the colonies of their wealth, the
author has looked at the original documents, weighed
them, and found the proof to be wanting. For an example,
the infamous Tea Tax—that caused some Boston “Sons
of Liberty” to dump the equivalent of $2-4 million of tea
into the harbor—was the equivalent of about 2-3 cents
per cup in today’s value. At the beginning of the war for
independence, that was the only tax that England was
actually still putting on the colonies.
The Black Regiment
But grumping about taxes by the common man doesn’t
seem to bother the author as much as those who growled
from the pulpit. After all, Bercot says again and again,
Jesus told us to pay our taxes, even taxes that were unfair
and even illegal. So what is a black-robed preacher doing,
telling his listeners that they were not doing their Christian
duty unless they stood up for their rights? Of course, that
translated into picking up their long rifles and shooting a
So we end up with this: “Christian” ministers are telling
their flocks to rebel against the king because the king
put a 3 cents per cup tax on
their tea. When we are all
finished, we then put “In God
We Trust” on all our coins
and paper money as a great
reminder that this nation was
built upon obeying Jesus.
To sum up the book
Author David Bercot has
spent the last nine years
researching the facts.
Doubtless, the book has a
few factual errors.* Those of
us who have read or written
history (whether secular or
church history) know that
sometimes the sources are
not clear, or even sometimes
conflicting, in their details.
But the factual details of,
say, the Boston Massacre are not Bercot’s focus. His point
is this …
Some “Christian” school curriculums paint the American
Revolution as a godly event. Historical facts are
glossed over, conveniently forgotten, or simply changed.
The bottom line is that the United States of America was
not built upon trust in God. Rather, it was founded upon
greed and rebellion.
The problem for us today is that many people are calling
for Christians to “take back our country.” The cultural
war is being lost. Heathen moral values—abortion, gay
rights, divorce, etc—are replacing the former moral ethics
that were indeed more biblical. Some Evangelicals are
gearing up for a war. At this point, the war is political,
but if push comes to shove, the guns barrels will warm
What are real Christians—those who actually obey
Jesus—to do in such a case? Well, Bercot gives the details
of how true Christians responded in the colonial days
of America when some “Christian” preachers were calling
for war. The true believers simply obeyed Jesus: paid
their taxes, submitted to the English king (unless his rules
defied Jesus’ teachings), and lived in peace.
When the Rebels finally did gain control, guess what?
Those who followed Jesus were persecuted. For example,
Christopher Sauer, Jr., a Brethren minister, was arrested
for refusing to swear an oath of allegiance to the State.
His beard was cut off and he was forced into a tattered
army uniform. His print shop was confiscated as well as
the rest of his property. By
whom, the English? No, by
After the Rebels gained
their objective, guess what?
Within a decade or two after
the United States of America
was formed, they were paying
more taxes than when
they were under the British
Trust, or suffer?
David Bercot will likely not
have to suffer a literal tar
and feathering. But I suspect
those “Christians” who
are trying to call kingdom
Christians into the political
fray will not be happy with
this book. A virtual tar and
feathering may occur. Protestant Christianity has never
really learned that the kingdom of God is not to mix
church and state.
The Heartbeat of the Remnant recommends In God
We Don’t Trust. Author David Bercot has done his homework
and went to the original documents to dig out the
historical facts. He has also peppered the text with pertinent
graphics so that it will appeal to younger readers, and
it could even be used to supplement Christian schooling.
Your high school student would benefit from the perspective
this book presents.
But beyond the historical facts presented in the book
is the underlying biblical message: the arm of flesh will
fail us. As followers of the lowly Lamb of God, we are not
called to rebel, but to trust God in suffering.
And that is the message of In God We Don’t Trust.
Scroll Publishing contacted Mike Atnip concerning this statement, in case there was a historical error we overlooked. He stated that he was not referring to any historical errors that he found. Rather, he was stating the fact that history is not an absolute science, and critics will have their own version of some of the historical events discussed. And he’s right!