South Dakota City Joins 500 Others Across U.S. In Displaying 'In God We Trust' Motto

| by Sheena Vasani
Mitchell, South Dakota, City HallMitchell, South Dakota, City Hall

The city of Mitchell, South Dakota, approved a controversial resolution permitting the display of the motto "In God We Trust" in local city Council Chambers.

City Councilman Mel Olson, however, called the Dec. 7 resolution a mistake, The Daily Republic reports.

“On a day when religious intolerance has been expressed by people running for the highest office in the land, I just don’t think that we should take an action that could be viewed by people who do not share our religious beliefs as an action of intolerance,” Olson said, according to The Republic.

While Olson did not specify which presidential candidate was expressing religious intolerance, earlier that same day GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump proposed blocking Muslims from entering the U.S.

Olson is alone in his opposition to the "In God We Trust" display, however, considering the resolution passed 7-1.

​“If we are people concerned about offense when we’re leading, we run into a situation where we never accomplish anything of consequence,” Rev. Ben Payne said in support of the display.

Rev. Kevin Carroll -- the first to speak in support of the resolution -- said that the display would reflect the majority of the city's religious beliefs.

According to Gallup polls, the majority of individuals living in South Dakota believe in Christianity.

However, Robert Ray -- of The Original Motto Project based out of Washington -- urged the council to display the motto “E Pluribus Unum," which means "From Many, One," in addition to "In God We Trust," according to The Republic.

In his email to the council, Ray explained that putting up the motto "In God We Trust" breaches the separation of church and state. The council dd not vote on the additional motto.

The South Dakota city's decision is the latest among 500 cities nationwide that have also decided to display the controversial "In God We Trust", Keloland TV reports.

When city Mayor Jerry Toomey was asked about secular residents' reaction to the display, he seemed unconcerned.

“If they see a sign on the wall, don’t look at it, I guess,” he said, according to The Republic.

Sources: The Daily RepublicGallupKeloland TV / Photo Credit: The Daily Republic, Keloland TV