Religion

Councilman Makes Costly 'In God We Trust' Sign Proposal

| by Mackenzie Fleming

A Missouri city councilman’s proposal to post the motto, “In God We Trust” in the council chambers is drawing attention and is coming under attack.

Springfield City Councilman Justin Burnett proposed the sign be centrally located in the chambers below where it says “City of Springfield” as a way to "preserve a sense of patriotism."

Although Burnett suggests the phrase should be displayed as a way to recognize the nation’s heritage and not for any specific religious reasons, his statement has been drawing criticism and backlash on social media.

Burnett announced his plan with a post on Facebook, which received about 90 comments from constituents. Comments ranged from complaints about a lack of action for problems such as road flooding, to opinions about keeping religion separate from city government.

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City Councilwoman Jan Fisk is opposes the resolution. “I do not discriminate and I do not exclude,” Fisk told KSPR. “I make decisions every council meeting that affect the lives of all of the citizens of Springfield, those who have a faith and those who do not have a faith.”

Burnett, who News-Leader notes is open about his Christian beliefs, defended his position and says the change would be a patriotic one.

“It establishes a sense of patriotism, I believe,” Burnett said in an interview with KSPR. “It acknowledges the history that we have, the culture that we have.”

Another concern for the sign is the cost. The same proposal was turned down three years ago when Mayor Bob Stephens says costs for the sign and installation were close to $75,000.

Burnett believes the sign would cost less than $5,000 and plans to fund it through private donations. The councilman says he plans to talk to the council about his plan for the cost at the next meeting, scheduled for June 22.

Sources: News-Leader, KSPR

Photo Credit: KSPR