For weeks now, I’ve been writing about how Clark County (Washington) officials have gone back and forth over a plan to put up an “In God We Trust” sign in city hall. A few days ago, they decided to vote in favor of the sign, much to the chagrin of church/state separation advocates.
George Thomas left last week’s meeting before the vote took place, but he has since written up a petition to put up a second sign on the wall (emphases his):
… I petition Clark County to create and display a second motto that includes the citizens of Clark County which the IN GOD WE TRUST motto excludes. It is to read IN DISSENTERS WE BELIEVE.
The IN DISSENTERS WE BELIEVE motto must be placed next to and in plain view of any and all, IN GOD WE TRUST, motto[s] so that when a citizen views the one he can also view the other. The IN DISSENTERS WE BELIEVE motto will be of equal value, size, dimension and proportion as the motto IN GOD WE TRUST. Further, the IN GOD WE TRUST motto must not be so expensive that a citizen working for a minimum wage cannot afford to put the IN DISSENTERS WE BELIEVE up if Clark County itself refuses to construct and display the IN DISSENTERS WE BELIEVE motto.
Cute idea. I’d be happy to raise or cover the costs of the sign if he can get it to go up.
So far, the petition has only one signature: George Thomas. But even if he found more people to support his plan, it likely wouldn’t get very far:
Thomas, who until this week had never been to a county council meeting, plans to attend [this] Tuesday’s to present his petition publicly. He also contacted the American Civil Liberties Union, and plans to contact a lawyer to see how much it may cost to file a lawsuit against the county.
“I’ve been a citizen my whole life,” Thomas said. “I was born here, and they’re excluding me from the motto, the American motto. That can’t stand.”
Acting County Manager Mark McCauley hadn’t seen the petition when The Columbian contacted him for comment, but said it likely wouldn’t get much traction in the county council.
“Certainly we would consider it, and chances are we would just disregard it,” McCauley said. “I don’t believe that our councilors would take up a discussion of it. Petitions, they haven’t historically been a way to get business done around here.”
He has an uphill battle and he probably won’t be successful, but maybe it’ll get the point across that the current motto really excludes some groups.
(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Brian for the link)