Sheriff Brian Hieatt of Tazewell County, Virginia, recently confirmed for the second time that "In God We Trust" stickers on county patrol vehicles are a direct reference to God and belief.
Hieatt said in January, "Our department feels very strongly about having 'In God We Trust' on our vehicles. We know there is nothing we can do for our community without the guidance of our Lord," reported WDBJ.
A press release at the time said Hieatt's office held Bible study meetings every week.
In response, the Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter to Hieatt on Jan. 27, notes the Friendly Atheist:
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"Your admission that the phrase is indicative of the Christianity of your staff belies any argument that the phrase is being used in a merely 'ceremonial' or 'patriotic' manner with 'no theological… impact.'
"This gives the appearance of government endorsement of Christianity, which conflicts with personal religious and nonreligious views of many county residents and employees...
"On behalf of Tazewell County residents and taxpayers, we ask that you refrain from promoting Christianity in your official capacity as Sheriff, and urge you remove 'In God We Trust' from all Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office vehicle."
SWVAToday.com reports there was a community prayer event on the grounds of the Tazewell High School on July 30, and Hieatt told the crowd that his officers put the "In God We Trust" decals on their patrol vehicles to demonstrate their belief in God, not because it is the U.S. motto.
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At the same event, pastor Bernard Cornwell prayed that God would make America great again, and added how great it was that people were taking a stand.
Reverend John Blessing said the Bland and Tazewell counties were the best, and added that he don't know any family that was not currently suffering.
There's no word if Hieatt intends to remove the "In God We Trust" stickers or if the FFRF is planning a lawsuit to compel their removal.
Sources: WDBJ via Archive.org, Friendly Atheist, SWVAToday.com / Photo credit: Tazewell County Virginia Sheriff's Office/Facebook