One Texas law enforcement agency decided to display “In God We Trust” on its patrol cars, telling opposition to “go fly a kite.”
The Freedom From Religion Foundation sent letters to the police department in Childress, Texas, objecting to the "In God We Trust" decals, reports KTVT.
The nonprofit foundation’s co-president, Annie Laurie Gaylor, argued police should focus on their secular work over exclusionary messages, the Austin American-Statesman reports. She also added they should rely on the judgment of law, not a religious figure. FFRF advocates for separation of church and state.
The organization’s letters prompted government officials to ask Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton for a legal opinion on the matter.
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Paxton expressed his support for the controversial move in a legal opinion on Nov. 4, which he published on his website.
“A court is likely to conclude that a law enforcement department's display of the national motto, 'In God We Trust,' on its patrol vehicles is permissible under the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution,” he wrote.
Childress Police Chief Adrian Garcia then sent a letter back to the Freedom From Religion Foundation stating: “After carefully reading your letter I must deny your request in the removal of our Nations motto from our patrol units, and ask that you and the Freedom From Religion Foundation go fly a kite.”
Garcia started displaying the motto in response to violence against law enforcement officials, Breitbart reports.
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"I think with all the assaults happening on officers across the country ... it's time we get back to where we once were,” he said.
According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, as of Dec. 29, Texas had the highest number of police fatalities in the country.
In total, 42 police officers were killed due to firearms-related causes in the U.S. in 2015. Those statistics also show police fatalities have declined in the past 10 years.
“The 42 firearms-related fatalities in 2015 are 26 percent lower than the average of 57 per year for the decade spanning 2000-2009,” the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund reports.