Two police departments in Florida have added decals that read “In God We Trust” to their vehicles.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office and the Chipley Police Department in Washington County, Florida, added the decals on July 29, reports the Chipley Paper.
Washington County Sheriff Bobby Haddock ordered them for his department three weeks ago.
"We've been planning this for a while," the sheriff said. "We're not doing this to offend anyone, and we're not pushing it on anyone, but the job we have, the things we deal with day after day, you have to believe in something. Faith in God is something in which we strongly believe, and we want to represent that."
Haddock has invited the public to join them by putting similar stickers on their vehicles, but not everybody is as thrilled about it as the police force is.
"Spending taxpayer time placing religious messages on patrol cars is beyond the scope of secular government," wrote the Freedom From Religion Foundation Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. "Further, in a time when citizens nationwide are increasingly distrustful of police actions, it is frightening and politically dubious to announce to citizens that law enforcement officers rely on the judgment of a deity, rather than on the judgment of law. FFRF urges each department to remove the messages from publicly financed vehicles in order to respect the rights of conscience of all citizens, including those who in good conscience reject belief in a god."
Haddock does not believe that the backlash is warranted, and he says that people don’t like it because it is another tangible thing at which to demonstrate anger.
“What we should all be offended by is the crime and injustice in the community,” Haddock countered. “There are children being abused and other terrible things that we should be more focused on doing away with."
Several other police departments around the nation have added the controversial decal, including one in Stone County, Missouri, according to Fox 2 Now. While opponents have expressed concern about whether the department used taxpayer money to fund the decals, the Missouri police have stated that local businesses donated the stickers.
It is unclear who paid for the decals in Florida.