Commissioners urged to display 'In God We Trust'

Tuesday, June 12, 2018
Barb Otto of O'Neill folds up the Nebraska map after showing Red Willow County commissioners the counties in yellow that she has approached about installing signs that say "In God We Trust" in their courthouses.
Connie Jo Disce/McCook Gazette

McCOOK, Neb. — In the 60-some Nebraska counties that Barb Otto has visited in the last three years, not a single courthouse had the National Motto, "In God We Trust," displayed anywhere.

After Barb's visit, most of them have either installed signs or have approved a project to hang signs. Red Willow County commissioners will vote on the issue at an upcoming meeting.

Barb visited commissioners Jacque Riener and Earl McNutt Monday morning and explained that she is part of a grassroots movement started in 1995 by Bakersfield, Calif., city council member Jacquie Sullivan. Sullivan wanted her fellow council members to "Vote Yes" to display "In God We Trust" in the council chambers in city hall, and her patriotic movement has spread across the nation since then.

Barb said that the U.S. Congress adopted "In God We Trust" as the national motto on July 30, 1956, during the Dwight D. Eisenhower administration. On Nov. 1, 2011, the U.S. House of Representatives reaffirmed — 396-9 — "In God We Trust" as the nation's official motto.The 2011 resolution encourages the placement of the motto in all government buildings and school classrooms.

"There are a million ways to create and hang a sign," Barb told Riener and McNutt. (Fellow commissioner Steve Downer was ill.) "It's written in stone and in brass in Washington, D.C., but your sign doesn't have to be expensive. Inside … outside. It's up to you."

Although this mission isn't a conservative/liberal, Democrat/Republican thing, Barb said — "It's not that type of issue" — she doesn't encourage asking tax payers to finance it. Very often, the sign project will generate financial support from citizens after they've read about it in the newspaper, she said.

"My job … my goal," Barb said, "is to plant the seed … give you food for thought."

McNutt told Barb, "You've got a good movement going here," and Riener put her support behind it. They'll run it by county attorney Paul Wood and Downer before they vote on it.

Sullivan assures citizens that, because the Congress adopted "In God We Trust" as the National Motto, the display of the motto is a legal right protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution. The grassroots movement, "In God We Trust - America Inc.," is legal, she assures citizens, explaining that not one legal challenge has been raised against any city or county that "Voted Yes" to display its sign. Sullivan says, "May God bless America, and may America's trust always be in God."

"In God We Trust - America Inc." is a non-profit 501©3 educational corporation, ID No. 2624857. For more information, go to www.inGodwetrust-america.org

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