Missouri Sheriff Department Told To Remove 'In God We Trust' Decals From Vehicles
A Missouri county Sheriff's Department has received a letter from a nontheist organization calling for the removal of "In God We Trust" decals from its vehicles.
The Aug. 7 letter was sent to Sheriff Wayne Merritt from the Laclede County Sheriff's Department by the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF).
The letter explains why the statement on the vehicles is an "inappropriate and unconstitutional religious endorsement".
"Public officials should not use their government position and government property to promote their religious views" Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF Co-President, writes in the letter. "The Department protects all residents of Laclede County, including those who do not believe in a monotheistic god or any gods."
The letter says that the decals are a waste of taxpayer time, and that citizens are relying on elected officials to perform their "secular duties".
"The history of the motto "In God We Trust" evidences no secular purpose; on the contrary, the motto was first adopted during the Cold War as a reaction to the purported 'godlessness' of Communism."
The letter also questions the accuracy of the phrase considering the growing number of Americans who identify as nonreligious.
The Laclede County Sheriff's Department began applying "In God We Trust" decals to its vehicles on July 21. Wayne Merrit, a Laclede County Sheriff, said the decision was partly due to a letter issued by a Springfield attorney, and partly from personal choice prior to the letter, the Lebanon Daily Record reported.
Michael's Brown's death last year in Ferguson, Missouri, the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on same-sex marriage, and controversy surrounding the Confederate flag further fueled Merrit's decision to install the decal.
"It's time now for the majority to be heard. The minority is always making noise, and they always seem to get the biggest stage and microphone from the media, from California, from Hollywood," Merrit said to the Lebanon Daily Record.
The letter sent to the Laclede County Sheriff's Department was part of 10 letters sent out that day to other law enforcement agencies across the country.