About 40 community members in Oregon attended a town hall meeting to discuss whether to engrave the phrase, ‚ÄėIn God We Trust,‚Äô into a county courtroom wall.
Last December, Klamath Falls city commission chairman Tom Mallams suggested adding the contested phrase to the wall of the public hearing room.
When first proposed, a large portion of the Klamath Falls community was in favor of it.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs on all our money, it‚Äôs on all our coinage,‚ÄĚ county commissioner Jim Bellet said. ‚ÄúI don‚Äôt see anything wrong with putting it on a government building.‚ÄĚ
In 1956, President Eisenhower signed a law making ‚ÄúIn God We Trust‚ÄĚ the national motto of the U.S., according to the Department of Treasury. The phrase began to appear on all forms of currency a year later.
Public opinion in the town moved more towards not adding the quote to the courtroom in the last couple weeks.
Austin Folagy, a resident of Klamath County, said he thinks the sign may hinder people from buying property in the area.
‚ÄúI want young families and young people to come and fall in love with this county,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúI want that regardless of their race, their religion or creed.‚ÄĚ
Others said they think this issue creates unnecessary division within the community.
‚ÄúChoosing one faith over another by placing the proposed plaque in this room is not only unconstitutional, it is morally wrong,‚ÄĚ said Trish Seiler, a Klamath Falls city councilmember. "It is not the American way."
In the face of this new opposition, city commissioners welcomed people at the town hall to volunteer new ideas to put on the back wall.
While some suggested writing Klamath County‚Äôs motto, ‚ÄėWorking for you,‚Äô on the wall, Folnagy said he liked the suggestion posed by a friend‚Äôs 3-year-old daughter.
‚ÄúRather than ‚ÄėIn God We Trust,‚Äô why don‚Äôt we say, ‚ÄėIn Love We Trust,‚Äô because God is love?‚ÄĚ he said.