“In God We Trust” may still be lingering on American currency, but in one North Carolina town, a vote stopped the religious slogan at city hall and the police department.
The Saluda Board of Commissioners voted unanimously not to put “In God We Trust” up on the two North Carolina public buildings. Commissioner Carolyn Ashburn said that the proposal was first brought to the board by the U.S. Motto Action Committee with the intention of implementing Christian values back into the United States, reported Tyron Daily Bulletin.
A total of six local residents spoke out at the vote, all of whom were also against the idea of “In God We Trust” making it on to government buildings. Several of them were actually self-professed Christians who simply feared North Carolina violating religious freedoms of those with other beliefs. Ellen Rogers, a Saluda local, said that imposing a particular God figure on local justice did just that.
“As you well know the people of the United States and of Saluda are not made up of merely Christians. We are a far more spiritually diverse community of Atheists, Buddhists, Jews, Agnostics and Christians to name a few… ‘E Pluribus Unum’ is the motto of the United States as our founding fathers intended. Let us not forget it. In contrast, the use of ‘In God We Trust’ has been extremely divisive. It intentionally leaves out an entire section of our population.”
Saluda’s vote comes amid other controversy over “In God We Trust” in Polk County, where half of Saluda is located. Government offices housed by the Womack building are set to have the words engraved on its edifice by the end of the month.
Also in North Carolina, the local sheriff’s department has taken part in the campaign to put “In God We Trust” decals on the backs of all government vehicles. In Rutherford County, a local church helped put together the funds for the venture, which some in the community protested as an unfair intersection of church and state. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) has been sending complaints to the offending police departments since July 2015.
“FFRF reminds the agencies that citizens trust law enforcement officers to attend to their secular duties, not spend taxpayer time placing religious messages on patrol cars to the exclusion of the 23% of Americans who are not religious.”
While the origin of how “In God We Trust” made its way into the American lexicon is somewhat unclear, there are two predominating reasons that explain its existence. One key event, previously reported by the Inquisitr, is that the words were lifted from “The Star Spangled Banner” and added due to calls from prominent devout Christians in 1864. By 1938, it appeared on U.S. coins from North Carolina to California.
For similar reasons to “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance, “In God We Trust” made its way on to every single piece of American currency in 1955 during the Cold War. Atheistic communism was a primary target of the U.S. government during the time period, which spurred a congressional vote in favor of the motto’s inclusion. North Carolina’s ACLU director Mike Meno specifically referenced this aspect of the phrase’s history in his counter-argument.
“Saluda need not adopt a motto that was created in fearful reaction to communism. Is that really the style of government we want?”
What do you think about the vote to add “In God We Trust” to North Carolina’s city halls and police departments?
[Image via Alex Wong/Getty Images]