A Texas tax collector in Tarrant County added “four simple words” to his office stationary – “In God We Trust” — and sparked a nationwide debate. Those opposed to the added phrase feel tax collector Ron Wright violated the separation of church and state by including the statement.
“In God We Trust” is also emblazoned on all bills and coins minted in the United States. Texas tax collector Ron Wright disagrees with those who have vocally opposed the design of his new office stationary. He sees the phrase as both a “religious and patriotic statement.”
Wright also had this to say about adding In God We Trust to the heading of documents from the Tarrant County tax collection office:
“There are people who will see it and see a religious statement and there are others that will see it and see a patriotic statement. I look at it and see both. It’s part of who we are. It helps define us as Americans. I think it was more seeing the elimination of the phrase and how things that have been iconic to us and have been important to us historically because of lawsuits and things like that.”
The Tarrant County tax collector said that he had been considering adding the controversial phrase to his stationary for the past year. When it finally came time to order new stationary for his office, he opted to go ahead and make the change in the heading.
Although many have shared their thoughts about adding In God We Trust to the Texas tax collectors stationary since the story made nationwide headlines, Ron Wright maintains that only one person has actually called his office to complain. One Tarrant County resident wrote a letter to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram to “express surprise” at reading “In God We Trust” on a car registration envelope.
Letter writer Leslie Weid Fraser had this to say in an open letter in the Texas newspaper:
“I consider that a violation of the doctrine of separation of church and state. It is true that my coins and bills contain this phrase, but it has been on those for years and I suppose I have grown accustomed. This [the return envelope] is something new and a lot closer to home. Those are my tax dollars, and I don’t want them funding a religious opinion.”
Atheist blogger Hermant Mehta has encouraged those opposed to the “In God We Trust” stationary to call the Tarrant County office and complain – politely, about the phrase addition. “Wright is using the Motto Defense to give a big middle finger to all atheists in the county, and he’s using his office to do it,” the atheist blogger wrote.
The majority of Tarrant County residents KTVT-TV spoke with about Ron Wright’s stationary favored the tax collector’s decision. The county paid three dollars to create the printing plate that altered the standard office stationary.
How do you feel about the Texas tax collector adding In God We Trust to his office stationary?
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