Religion

Washington County Officials Vote to Put 'In God We Trust' On Hearing Room Wall

| by Kendal Mitchell

County councilors in Washington passed a resolutions on Tuesday saying the phrase, ‘In God We Trust,’ will go on display in the local public hearing room.

Clark County Councilor Tom Mielke said he proposed the idea knowing it would pass the three county council vote.

Both opponents and supporters of the display shared their feelings about the phrase during a public hearing about the measure. 

Stephen Kirkendall, a local supporter, said he thinks ‘In God We Trust’ should be on the wall because it is a national motto.

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"If the Christians are wrong, what is going to be their penalty? The joy of helping others?" Kirkendall said at a public hearing on Tuesday. "And if the atheists are wrong they're sending their children and grandchildren to hell."

Opponents said they think the phrase violates the constitutional right for the separation of church and state. They also said they think the time and money dedicated to writing the phrase is a waste of public funds.

Earlier this month, Clark County councilmembers failed to pass the measure. When Mielke called for the resolution to go to a vote, neither of the other councilmembers seconded his motion, said council clerk Rebecca Tilton.

When protestors began to fill the council chambers, many held signs with statements such as, ‘Atheism, there is no God,’ and ‘US constitution guaranteed freedom of religion.’

"(The hearing room) should be totally secular," said protester Amy Ray. "Everyone should be free to not believe or believe what they want. But government shouldn't have a place in that."

Meilke said he thinks the national motto should be in the hearing room as a tribute to American history.

"I have served my country in Vietnam and I love my country and I'm also a Christian," he said. "But it also tells the history of our country."

Sources: KGW / Photo Credit: KGW