Watauga County commissioners voted 4-1 to place “In God We Trust” on the county's courthouse and/or administration building. Both buildings are located in Downtown Boone, North Carolina.
The U.S. Motto Action Committee submitted a proposal to fund the installation of “In God We Trust” on one or both buildings, which the commissioners accepted.
The U.S. Motto Action Committee has successfully submitted multiple proposals to government bodies across the U.S. to have “In God We Trust” placed on government buildings.
Committee Vice Chair Rick Lanier appeared before the Watauga County commissioners on May 5 to request their endorsement. He argued that the motto was protected by the first amendment and that 25 counties and 14 municipalities had already agreed to similar proposals.
Lanier said the motto is a “proud source of strength and guidance to many generations of America.”
Congress made “In God We Trust” the national motto in 1956. The phrase has been included on coins since 1865 and on national currency since 1955.
Commissioner Billy Kennedy cast the lone disapproving vote. He told Channel 9 News that although he is a Christian, he believes that government needs to be open and comfortable for everyone. Before the vote, Kennedy said that he firmly believed in the separation of church and state.
“We need to be careful injecting God into our government,” Kennedy said.
Both Lanier and Commissioner Perry Yates rebutted Kennedy. Lanier insisted that the United States was “tolerant of other religions and tolerant of other cultures” and that the United States is a “hope to other nations and other people because of [its] value system.”
“If we ever forget that we are one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under,” Yates said, quoting former President Ronald Reagan. The quote was included in a U.S. Motto Action Committee pamphlet that was given to the commissioners and press.
“You don’t have to believe in God to be an American patriot,” Kennedy said.
Despite Kennedy’s opposition, the proposal passed, though there is currently no time frame for when the motto will be installed.