THE IMAGINARY CURRENCY CONSPIRACY…. Former Gov. Sarah Palin (R) spoke at a Wisconsin Right to Life fundraising banquet over the weekend, and repeated a rather obscure right-wing conspiracy theory that occasionally pops up in religious right circles (via Ron Chusid). If Palin’s spouting it, the idea might start making the rounds — coming soon to a Fox News program near you — so it’s probably worth taking a moment to set the record straight.

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.

Oh, I get it. President Obama is a secret Muslim, a secret Jew, and a secret atheist. I knew it.

In our reality, however, Sarah Palin doesn’t have the foggiest idea what she’s talking about. In 2005, a Republican Congress commissioned a new dollar coin, which was approved by a Republican president. In the proposed design, “In God We Trust” was moved to the edge of the coin.

The religious right flipped out, and a year ago, the Democratic Congress approved a Brownback/Byrd measure to move the phrase back onto the front of the dollar coin.

In the same speech, the former governor talked up the concept of “death panels” in health care reform, casually threw around the words like “bogus” and “awesome” to discuss weighty topics, and generally made a series of observations that didn’t make any sense.

It is, to borrow a phrase, part of “a disturbing trend.”

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.