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'In God We Trust' to Go Above City Seal, Without 'E Pluribus Unum'

Mayor Peter Herzog and Councilman Scott Voigts clashed over the national motto.

The words "In God We Trust" should be rendered in 4-inch lettering above the city seal in the City Council chamber, the council decided in a 3-2 vote at Tuesday's meeting.

. On Tuesday, staffers asked the council for direction about where to place the phrase and what it should look like.

Council members Marcia Rudolph, Scott Voigts and Kathryn McCullough said they liked the idea of putting the words above the wooden city seal on the wall behind the dais, in lettering that would complement the seal.

"It is the motto of our nation, and I think it's a good motto for us," Voigts said.

Two members of the public, Vincent Burke and Bob Holtzclaw, encouraged the council to move forward with posting the phrase.

Mayor Peter Herzog, who , proposed it be put up on the along with the words "E Pluribus Unum," the national motto before Congress changed it to "In God We Trust" in 1956. That motion died, supported only by Councilman Mark Tettemer.

To illustrate that the motto was divisive, Herzog read aloud a number of objecting to the posting of "In God We Trust." He also pointed out that council members have taken an oath to uphold the Constitution and they pledge allegiance to the flag at the beginning of every meeting. Given all that, he said, he didn't understand why spending money to post the motto would be necessary.

"What I haven't heard to date is … what it is that this 'In God We Trust' adds." Herzog said. "What is it going to accomplish? I've always been one [who thinks] that just doing something to do it is not a good reason."

But Voigts argued that displaying "In God We Trust" was appropriate.

"It's not we're talking about a deity," Voigts said. "We're talking about a motto."

After the meeting, he elaborated.

"It's a motto, and if you don't have the faith to believe in it, it means nothing," he said. "I just look at it that if you don't want to believe in a god, that's your choice, but the words won't mean anything to you then."

Rudolph said she'd like to see the display unveiled at the council meeting July 5. A rough estimate in the staff report on the item said that putting the words up would cost between $3,000 and $4,000.

Maria Moffa Levenson April 06, 2011 at 07:50 PM
I can't wait for the next elections so we can get these people out of office! I agree wit Susan Wattles. If God is not a deity, what is he? Didn't Voights ever go to a Sunday School class, or a church? What a waste of time and money! I think our schools or road improvement would have benefitted with these funds. All I can think of is the City of Bell. Those people in city government are out.... Lake Forest's are next!
LakeForestAl April 06, 2011 at 11:41 PM
Glad to see that others agree with me that this is offensive and inappropriate. I will vote against all three of the supporters in any election from now on. If they can't understand that forcing their religious views on people who don't share them is both offensive and unconstitutional, they are not intelligent enough to be holding public office. Continued thanks to the two council members who keep trying to stand up for the separation of government and religion. The rejection of adding "E Pluribus Unum" sure puts the lie to Marcia Rudolph's claim that this is about tradition and history and that "if we don't follow history we will follow our mistakes" - whatever she thinks that means. This is about only one thing - saying "I'm a Christian and I insist on making that part of government as long as I have the majority votes to do it." Well, good luck with that. It won't last forever.
Nico April 07, 2011 at 12:22 AM
If it's just a motto, why not "In God we *don't* trust"? If you have the faith to believe in it, it means nothing. If you want to believe in a god, that's your choice, but the words won't mean anything to you then. And yes I vote as well and I won't forget.
Maria Moffa Levenson April 07, 2011 at 08:11 AM
Here's a great motto: I sure as hell don't trust my city council!!!!
martin deutschman November 04, 2011 at 07:33 PM
I do not believe in divisive language being put in our city chambers. The city chambers should represent all the people.

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