In an official statement released on Nov. 4, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has ruled it acceptable for Texan police vehicles to sport “In God We Trust” stickers.
In October, the Childress Police Department drew ire for putting the stickers on its patrol cars, and the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a church-state watchdog organization, requested the department stop using the motto. Childress Police Chief Adrian Garcia replied to the request by telling the group to “go fly a kite.”
In an Oct. 2 Facebook post, Paxton gave his backing for Garcia’s response.
Paxton said the stickers are "a passive use of a motto steeped in our nation’s history” and that the police department would probably win if challenged in a court of law.
"There is an unbroken history of official acknowledgment by all three branches of government of the role of religion in American life from at least 1789,” he said in the statement. “A law enforcement department's decision to display the national motto on its vehicles is consistent with that history. Thus, a court is likely to conclude that a law enforcement department's display of 'In God We Trust' on its patrol vehicles is permissible under the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution.”
In 1956 — during the Eisenhower administration — Congress made “In God We Trust” the official national motto.
Following suit, Republican Texas Sen. Charles Perry of Lubbock voiced support for Paxton.
"Attorney General Paxton confirmed what I knew to be true all along — the use of our National Motto is protected speech,” Perry said on Nov. 4. “I hope this opinion gives law enforcement departments deciding to display 'In God We Trust' the clarity they need to maintain peace of mind."
In October, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott released a letter to Paxton offering his full support to the department if it continued “this patriotic display,” reported The Texas Tribune.