Steve Kreuscher aka "In God We Trust"

ZION, Ill. (AP) — Steve Kreuscher wants a judge to allow him to legally change his name. He wants to be known as “In God We Trust.”

Kreuscher (CROY’-shir) says the new name would symbolize the help God gave him through tough times.

The 57-year-old man also told the (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald he’s worried that atheists may succeed in removing the phrase “In God We Trust” from U.S. currency.

He recalls that the phrase “God Reigns” was removed from the Zion city seal in 1992 after courts deemed it unconstitutional. Zion was founded as a theocracy — by a sect that believed the Earth was flat.

The school bus driver and amateur artist in the northern Chicago suburb says he has filed a petition to change his name in Lake County Circuit Court.

Updated: May 5, 2008 — 12:29 pm

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  1. Well, as long as they allow Kentucky politiclans to change their names to look better on ballots (e.g. the guy that ran for state auditor several times years ago and who legally added “CPA” to his name so it could go on the ballot) I don’t reckon that they should turn down this guy’s request either. What are they going to call him for short, though, “Godwy” maybe?

  2. Prester John, there was also the guy who wanted to legally add “I am a Democrat” as his middle name, I guess so the voters wouldn’t be confused.

  3. Somebody needs to name their kid “God Bless You” and enroll them in public school. Wouldn’t that be a sight to see.

  4. I notice that AP helpfully explains how to pronounce Kreuscher’s name. At least no one should need any help pronouncing “In God We Trust.”

    Peach, I assume that your comment about naming a child “God Bless You” and enrolling him or her in public school is meant to suggest that public schools are hostile to references to God. When I went to public school, every class began with the Pledge of Allegiance, which includes “under God.” I assume that saying the Pledge is still common. Also, I happened to be in the 5th grade right after the Supreme Court ruling about prayers in school. The teacher was quite put out by the decision, and explained on the first day of class that she always liked to start the day with a Bible reading to the class, but she couldn’t do that any more thanks to the Supreme Court. She told us, however, that the Bible would still be sitting in the front of the room in case we’d like to read it during school hours. This, by the way, was in the District of Columbia, which is not usually considered part of the Bible Belt.

    This same teacher also had us put on a Christmas play which included the adoration of the baby Jesus, which was somewhat awkward since at least a quarter or a third of the students were Jewish. One of my classmates refused to participate in the play, which is pretty gutsy for a fifth-grader. I’m afraid I opted for a rather questionable compromise, which was to take a non-speaking role as one of the barnyard animals, a cow if I remember correctly. The student who led the adoration was Jewish, so we had a very diverse response.

  5. On that last response, I confused Peach and Perplexed. Sorry about that. Must be having trouble with P’s this morning.

  6. Well, there was this old historic seventeenth-century English Baptist that was actually named (and no, I’m not fooling either) Praise-God Barebone. I guess his Puritan parents sort of had the same idea as they’re getting now. But can you imagine his parents trying to scold him for common juvenile delinquencies? “Praise-God, I’m gonna wear you out if you don’t ….”

  7. Larry, the interpretation they gave the Supreme Court’s decision in my little home town, in Eastern Kentucky, well within the bible belt, was that it was okay to READ scripture, just not to comment on it. My sixth grade teacher was a Baptist preacher, and he faithfully read small passages of the bible each day, and equally faithfully made no comment on it. I don’t know if this was an “official” school policy or not, but I was told by a number of teachers that it was how they were instructed by the principal, and a number of them, maybe all, did it. And I know that must have been hard for him, because I heard him preach many times, and he preached like a barn burning. I don’t know if they still take this interpretation or not; none of my junior high or high school teachers read scripture before class.

    Our Christmas plays, though, were purely secular. One year they did a play that had a talking holly wreath, and yes, yours truly stood behind curtains and stuck his head through a wreath. We didn’t have plastic reindeer, though; I imagine the school couldn’t afford them. But we unfortunately had lots of fresh holly, thorns and all.

  8. Prester John, one of my absolute favorite names in the world is Thurgood Marshall, the late civil rights lawyer and supreme court justice. (I admire the man even more, but this is about the name.) His parents named him “Thoroughgood,” perhaps in the same manner as “Praise God Barebone.” He amended the name to Thurgood on his own.

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