Kings County Board of Supervisors Vote in favor of God Motto
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- You've seen it printed on our U.S. currency, included on city seals throughout the United States and posted on the front lawns of family's homes throughout the Valley, but now it will soon be placed above a mural inside the chambers of the Kings County Board of Supervisors in Hanford.
That's because Tuesday morning, members voted 5-0 in favor of displaying the phrase "In God We Trust" in metal letters on the wall behind them.
"To me personally, the way I serve in government is trusting God," said Kings County Supervisor Richard Valle. "So to have those words right behind me during the meeting I'm proud to have that out there for the public."
Supervisor Doug Verboon agreed.
"Just to have a direction, something to look into anytime you make a decision. You've got to have some kind of faith and "In God We Trust" seemed to work. It worked on my money, it worked in our boardroom," he said.
Verboon said, when the board first discussed the idea last week, nobody officially commented. He said, supervisors became supportive of the proposal after a Bakersfield organization called "In God We Trust Incorporated" requested the change as part of a national movement.
Since then, the city council in Hanford announced it too is considering putting up the sign and a debate erupted within the community.
"When the county takes an official position on "In God We Trust," not everybody completely believes that or agrees with that and it feels like our decisions in our county are being made on trusting God," said Hanford Resident Rick Leach.
The United States Army veteran went on to say he loves our country and respects the views of our founding fathers, but said the argument that America was founded on the Christian faith is not true.
"Sure while there were some Christian men included in the founding of this country, there was also a large number of Deists, whose central tenant of belief is that there is a universal architect, but it is not a god involved with the goings on of man," he said. "This is what Thomas Jefferson meant when he said we should separate church and state."
Hanford resident Nathan Baird agreed.
"I think the only way we can show love for our county and our town is remaining neutral on this topic," he said. "I feel that it alienates unnecessarily a portion of the population. It doesn't really serve to benefit anyone greatly."
The topic sparked a debate on the Action News Facebook page as well. More than 300 people shared their opinions with us. Those in support said America was founded on Christian principles and the phrase represents the majority. Those opposed to using the slogan said it doesn't respect America as a secular nation and that government facilities should be free of the influences of religion.
Because of the public outcry, the Kings County Board of Supervisors agreed to donate $450 out of their own pockets to put up the sign, rather than take the funds out of the county's budget. They said the display will be installed in the next few weeks.
In the meantime, supervisors said they are happy with their decision.
"I think it's something this board is proud to leave behind," said Valle. "Twenty years from now maybe we're not all sitting here as supervisors, but we can always come back and see the lettering "In God We Trust" and say we did that."
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