The nation’s motto will be displayed on the wall of the city council chamber, but the decision didn’t come without an, at times, heated discussion.
City council voted 3-2 Thursday night to approve a resolution supporting the display of a plaque stating “In God We Trust” in its chambers.
Mayor Tom Donaldson, who introduced the motion, councilwoman Cheri Scott and councilman Richard Schontz Jr. supported the resolution.
Councilwoman Kathy Kline and councilman Bill May voted against it.
May made a several-minute long speech on why the city should reject the idea, saying the motto brings religion into a governmental building it does not belong.
“We need to be welcoming of all people of all faiths, or of no faith,” May said. “This would make people with no faith feel uncomfortable and unwelcome.”
The city received an emailed request to display the motto in the City Building from the nonprofit organization In God We Trust~America, which claims to be dedicated to spreading the mission of patriotism.
The Butler County commissioners voted last week to approve displaying a plaque with the phrase in the Butler County Judicial and Government Center after receiving the same request.
May said the nonprofit’s group is to bring religion into the public forum, adding the saying was made the national motto in the 1950s in response to the Soviet Union, an atheist country.
Schontz defended the motto, saying council already brings religion to its meetings.
“If we’re going to have meetings without any religion, we should not bring a pastor in at the beginning,” he said.
Each month a pastor says a religious prayer after the council meeting is called to order.
Kline, who agreed with May, argued the opening invocation makes the plaque even more unnecessary.
“Then what’s the necessity in doing it again,” she asked Schontz. “We have to be welcoming of all our residents.”