Allegheny County, Pennsylvania is no stranger to church/state lawsuits, but the county commission appears to have avoided another one by voting down a proposal to put up a display saying “In God We Trust” in the county courthouse. The vote was very close.
A bid to display the words “In God We Trust” in the Allegheny County Courthouse failed Tuesday night. The vote was six in favor of the proposal and eight against…
Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald on Monday asked council members to vote against it. He said he would veto if it passed, and issued a statement after the vote.
“I commend County Council for their vote this evening,” he said in his statement. “I am pleased that Allegheny County will continue to be a community that welcomes diverse populations with different viewpoints and ways of life. This vote makes it clear that all people, regardless of their religion, ethnicity, or belief system, are welcome here.”
In 1989, this same county put up a Christian creche on those same courthouse grounds and was sued by the ACLU. It went all the way to the Supreme Court, which ruled against the county, saying that it was a violation of the Lemon test. It was one of the many cases in which the Supreme Court delivered nonsensical, multi-part rulings with all kinds of concurring and dissenting opinions that give very little guidance to local officials about what is and is not constitutional.