Christianist Dee Wampler has been on a quest to have the phrase “In God We Trust” branded in every city in the state of Missouri. He believes this shouldn’t be a big deal since it’s our national motto.
Wampler doesn’t care how much these cities would have to pay to create/put up the signs or to defend themselves in a lawsuit. He just wants his religion endorsed (and his name credited with doing that). He also wants to make sure the “hyphenated-americans” understand the (false) notion that we’re a Christian nation.
A number of cities have already approved the motion.
When the motion came up in the city of Adrian on Monday, though, Alderman (and atheist) Danny Ferguson was there to defend separation of church and state. (He provided me with a transcript of the city council meeting.)
Mayor Larry Ritter: This next little deal is something that’s a little bit odd. The city of Adrian has been asked to post a sign that says “In God we trust” and we also have to pass an ordinance if we want to do this. A resolution. It goes along with, I think, a lawsuit that’s been settled in the state of Missouri and they’re trying to get all the cities that will to be proud to say that “In God we do trust.” So, it’s before this council if you want to do this or not.
Alderman Bob Hess: I make a motion that we do it.
Alderman Sue Miller: I second it.
Ritter: There ought to be some discussion first.
Hess: It’s the national motto. What do we need to discuss?
Ritter: There ought to be some discussion, I think, first.
Alderman Danny Ferguson: I’m going to be voting against this.
Ferguson was outnumbered, but that didn’t stop him from rationally discussing the problems with this sign.
The most telling part of the conversation was the exchange between Hess (who supports the sign) and Ferguson (who is against it):
Hess: If you don’t believe in God, I mean if there something wrong with God, and you don’t think there’s a God, this shouldn’t bother you.
Ferguson: OK, would you be all right if we put up “Allahu Akbar,” Arabic for “God is great”?
Hess: No, that’s not God.
Ferguson: “Allah” is Arabic for “God.”
Hess: No, it’s not the right God.
Ferguson: OK, so now we’re down to which God it is.
I love that 🙂
And Ferguson kept going:
Ferguson:… I’ve got a little statement to read and enter in the minutes.
Ferguson: Can we enter it into the record which God this will be?
Ritter: I don’t want to get into this, Danny.
Warner: It’s just a motto.
Lemon: I guess it really doesn’t matter if God is whatever God you choose then you trust in him or not.
Ferguson: So, you don’t want to say which God?
Lemon: Why would it matter?
Ferguson: Could we use the phrase “Allahu Akbar”? Would you be comfortable with that, Bob?
Hess: Would you like that?
Ferguson: No, I wouldn’t like that either.
After Ferguson read a fantastic statement explaining why church and state should be kept separate, it was time to vote:
Hess: I make a motion that we approve this, including “in God we trust” somewhere in the City Hall.
Miller: I second it.
Ritter: All in favor?
The motion passed 3-1. Adrian’s about to get an IGWT sign in City Hall. Wampler gets another victory to his credit. Ferguson put up a good fight, but came away defeated.
If you live in Adrian, you need to vote out Sue Miller, Bob Hess, and Richard Corum as soon as you can. Maybe the city needs a lawsuit to get the citizens in action…