Nine months following a controversial vote taken by local county council members, Clark County's public service center in Vancouver, Washington now displays a banner reading 'In God We Trust' in its hearings room.
The Columbian reported that council members had received and put the banner up in the center on Nov. 19. The letters are made of aluminum and were provided by Friends of the Carpenter, a local day shelter and ministry. The county's motto, "Proud past, promising future" is positioned above the new banner, and both displays have a similar font.
The original vote on the contentious issue had to go through two rounds before passing. Oregon Live reports that the first vote, taken on Feb. 10, failed to get enough votes to pass the council. A mere two weeks later, on Feb. 24, the proposal was brought up again and passed. Councilor David Madore claimed that it would "improper or unwise to deny or shun" the display of the national motto in public.
"It's not to Allah and its not to gods," Madore said. "It is what it is and we are not here to change it. We are here to recognize it and cherish and value and respect our heritage."
Oregon Live reported that close to 80 people showed up to the hearing that took place before the vote, which lasted almost four hours.
Proponents and opponents of the measure were equally concerned with the decision. One supporter, Stephen Kirkendall said that 'In God We Trust' would be a positive thing to display in a public building as it is the national motto, KGW reports.
"If the Christians are wrong, what is going to be their penalty? The joy of helping others?" Kirkendall said during the hearing. "And if the atheists are wrong they're sending their children and grandchildren to hell."
Others, such as resident George Thomas, argued that this issue was a religious matter and therefore should be discussed with religious leaders rather than politicians, according to Oregon Live. Others were more opposed, saying that the motto alienates those Americans who do not believe in God.
The vote passed 2-1 with support from councilors Madore and Tom Mielke; councilor Jeanne Stewart voted against the measure. Mielke reportedly became the proposal's main backer after being contacted by 'In God We Trust - America', a California-based organization which tries to get the national motto hung up in city and county offices nationwide.