The city council in Greenville, South Carolina, has agreed to mount a plaque that reads "In God We Trust" on its chamber walls, despite possible lawsuits over the religious statement.
The city council voted unanimously to display the religious message on the walls of its Council Chambers, located at County Square. City councilman Fred Payne told The Greenville News that he proposed the idea of having the words inscribed in their chamber after receiving an email from In God We Trust America, an organization that seeks to have local governments across the country display the message on their chamber walls.
According to the In God We Trust America website, the mission statement of the nonprofit organization is to "[promote] patriotism by encouraging elected officials to legally display our national motto 'In God We Trust' in every city and county chamber in America, keep God's name in America and show a commitment to the values our country was founded upon."
City Councilman Payne told The Greenville News that he proposed the idea of the plaque in order to "[reaffirm] this is a great nation, and it was made great by a great God."
Councilman Joe Baldwin also voted in favor of the plaque, but told WYFF 4 that he has some concerns about possible litigation regarding the religious message. "I trust in God and I think every member of council will say the same thing. I just don't know if it's absolutely necessary to invite a lawsuit," the councilman said.
"I just wonder if the U.S. Supreme Court will ultimately say it is wrong what we are doing," Baldwin added.
The American Civil Liberties Union of South Carolina has already taken issue with the plaque, with Victoria Middleton, executive director of the ACLU's South Carolina chapter, telling The Greenville News that non-Christians should not be made uncomfortable, especially in a government building.
Other city council members have continued to express their support for the plaque, including Butch Kirven, who believes the plaque "reinforces the confidence that the citizens can have in their local government."
Greenville is reportedly the second city in South Carolina to agree to the plaque; the Anderson County Council has also agreed to display the motto. In April, Butler County in Tennessee also agreed to display the religious statement in black granite in its county courthouse.