McDowell County in North Carolina has voted to place the words “In God We Trust” on public buildings, making it the third county in the state to do so this year.
Last Monday, the McDowell County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously for the move which came in response to a meeting with Rick Lanier of the U.S. Motto Action Committee.
"Upon presentation to our board, the commissioners' voted to have, at no cost to the county, the motto displayed on the county administration building in two locations: in our boardroom and on the county courthouse," David Walker, chairman of the Board of Commissioners, tells The Christian Post. "We did this to reaffirm what our Founding Fathers affirmed and that is our national motto is 'In God We Trust.’"
Reactions are mixed, with one local business owner saying, “I love it.” Another resident doesn’t like the idea of putting the “In God We Trust” signs on a public building, saying that there’s “supposed to be a separation of church and state.”
Alex Luchenitser, associate legal director with the Americans United for Separation of Church and State, says that the decision is unconstitutional.
"Placing large signs reading 'In God We Trust' on government buildings promotes religion to a substantially greater extent than does the historical practice of merely allowing the phrase to appear on coins in small type," Luchenitser said.
He added: "The county's conduct sends its citizens a message that the county's government favors the religious over the non-religious, and adherents to monotheist faiths over others.”
This isn’t the first time a North Carolina county has approved inscribing the national motto on public buildings. Earlier this month, Alamance County Commissioners approved adding the motto on three of its government buildings, including Alamance County Administration Building in Graham, the Criminal Courts Building and the County Commissioners' Meeting Room.
“In God We Trust” did not become the U.S. national motto until 1956.
Fox 8 reports that the lettering on a building costs up to $4,000, and will be covered by donations raised by the Motto Action Committee.