Stickers with biblical verses will no longer be attached to police cars in an Alabama county, thanks to Americans United.
The Houston County Sheriff’s Department put stickers on its vehicles that read “Blessed Are The Peacemakers,” a Bible verse from Matthew 5:9. That message encircled the official badge of the department. After Americans United got word of this clear instance of government endorsing religion, it sent a complaint letter to the sheriff’s department in early August. (The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation later sent a letter as well.) Read more
In recent months, stickers bearing the words “In God We Trust” have appeared on police cars in several states, including Illinois, Kentucky and North Carolina, leaving critics to wonder about the cause of this troubling church-state trend. Read more
Editor’s Note: Steven K. Green is the Fred H. Paulus Professor of Law and director of the Center for Religion, Law & Democracy at Willamette University College of Law in Salem, Oregon. Green, who served as legal director of Americans United from 1992—2001, is the author of several books on church-state relations, most recently Inventing a Christian America: The Myth of the Religious Founding (Oxford University Press). Green discussed his new book with Church & State Editor Rob Boston recently. Read more
Eleven legislative rooms in the Kentucky Statehouse will display signs reading “In God We Trust” thanks to a private donor.
The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that the signs are a temporary measure, and they will eventually be replaced by permanent displays that will show an updated version of the state seal in addition to the national motto. The Kentucky legislature passed a measure calling for the signs in 2006.
Kentucky Senate President, Robert Stivers (R-Manchester) gave an explicitly sectarian rationale for the measure. Read more
Officials in Ballwin, Mo., have voted 6-2 not to accept a donation to display the motto “In God We Trust” in its board room.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the Holy Infant Parish and Knights of Columbus offered to donate $750 to pay for the sign, with supporters arguing that the motto merely represents patriotism, and not religious fervor. A spokesman for the Knights of Columbus noted that the motto was adopted in the 1950s and is historical, rather than religious. Read more
An Alabama atheist who spoke out against a proposed “In God We Trust” display at Mobile’s Government Plaza is facing the sort of vicious backlash that has become far too common for those who challenge government-sponsored religion. Read more