North Carolina Counties Add 'In God We Trust' National Motto to Public Buildings

'In God We Trust' is inscribed above the judge's chair in Part 31, Room 1333 of the New York State Supreme Court, Criminal Term at 100 Centre Street, in New York, February 3, 2012.
"In God We Trust" is inscribed above the judge's chair in Part 31, Room 1333 of the New York State Supreme Court, Criminal Term at 100 Centre Street, in New York, February 3, 2012. | (Photo: Reuters/Chip East)

North Carolina's McDowell County is now the third municipality in the state to approve adding the national motto "In God We Trust" to its public buildings.

The McDowell County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the inclusion of "In God We Trust" signs for county buildings last Monday.

David Walker, chairman of the Board of Commissioners, told The Christian Post that the move came in response to a meeting with Rick Lanier of the U.S. Motto Action Committee.

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"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," said Walker.

"We did this to reaffirm what our Founding Fathers affirmed and that is our national motto is 'In God We Trust.'"

McDowell County staff will be working alongside the U.S. Motto Action Committee on the process of ordering and installing the signs, and private donations will fund the operation.

Local reaction to the decision to install the "In God We Trust" signs has been mixed, according to interviews given to CBN News.

One local business owner responded, saying, "I love it," while another resident decried it, saying that there's "supposed to be a separation of church and state."

Alex Luchenitser, associate legal director with the Washington, D.C. –based Americans United for Separation of Church and State, told CP that McDowell's actions were 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," said Luchenitser.

"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."

McDowell County is not the only municipality in North Carolina that has recently approved adding the national motto to its buildings.

Earlier this month Alamance County Board of Commissioners approved "In God We Trust" signage, as did the Gaston County Board of Commissioners back in February.

"Congress authorized the National Mint to include 'In God We Trust' on coins in 1865 and extended it to the national currency in 1955," reported Chris Lavender of The Times-News.

"In 1956, Congress made 'In God We Trust' the national motto, and it was inscribed in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate chambers."

In 2005, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that government buildings could display the national motto "In God We Trust."

Luchenitser of Americans United told CP that "it appears that in recent years a good number of cities and counties across the country have approved similar measures."

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