Local Citizen Makes A Request
Local citizen Gary Puryear made at public request at the August 8 Elk Grove City Council Meeting for the City Council to consider putting “in God we trust” on a plaque in the City Council Chambers at City Hall. After some discussion, the City Council agreed to put this item on a future agenda.
Gary Puryear showed up at the City Council Meeting on behalf of In God We Trust America. It’s a national organization which lists on their website that their mission is: “To promote patriotism by encouraging election officials to “Vote Yes” to legally display our congressionally approved national motto IN GOD WE TRUST in every City, County Chamber, and State Capitol in America.”
Gary Puryear spoke encouraging our City Council to consider his request. “I’m with In God We Trust America. Usually, I’m behind the camera but this time I’m the speaker. In God We Trust America Inc, and our mission is to promote patriotism by encouraging elected officials to “Vote Yes” to legally display on congressionally approved national motto In God We Trust in every City, County Chamber, and State Capitol in America.” Will you vote yes to display our national motto? On July 30, 1956, during the Dwight D. Eisenhower administration, the U.S. Congress adopted In God We Trust as the official national motto of the United States of America. Dear honorable elected officials, this is an invitation to join the growing list of cities and counties across America that are promoting patriotism by voting yes to proudly and prominently display our national motto In God We Trust in the chambers where the people’s business is conducted. To encourage this trend across America a non-profit organization, with 501C3 status, was created In God We Trust America Inc. Displaying our national motto is a legal right protected by our first Amendment. There have been no legal challenges because there is nothing to challenge. Will you be a part of this patriotic movement. We are pleased to announce that there are currently over 700 municipalities across America displaying In God We Trust in chambers. We urge you to place this on your next meeting agenda and when you vote yes, let us know so that the name of this municipality can be added to our national list. In addition, please send a picture of your display along with the names and photos of your elected officials, so all can be added to our website www.ingodwetrust-america.org.”
City Council’s Response
City Council Member Steve Detrick asked City Attorney Jonathan Hobbs about what was the legality behind placing such a plaque in City Council Chambers. Hobbs responded that “it is probably constitutional” but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it is legal. Hobbs also noted that this may not have faced a constitutional challenge yet.
City Council Members all agreed to place this matter on an agenda at a future City Council Meeting. Hobbs noted that it likely wouldn’t make the agenda for the next meeting but that it might be a September meeting. The City Council said that this was fine.