Allegheny County, PA Avoids More Church/State Trouble

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.

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  • cry4turtles

    Could it be that people are waking up?

  • D. C. Sessions

    Sounds like that question is ripe for another round at the Supreme Court, so that creches (etc.) can be properly found to be “ritual deism.” Like the “so help me God” in the Air Force oath.

  • John Pieret

    that give very little guidance to local officials about what is and is not constitutional

    But it and the rest give perfectly clear guidance to local officials: “If you are thinking of doing some official act to show your belief in god, don’t do it unless your government can spend tens or hundreds of thousands of taxpayers’ money, that could be better used to repair roads, improve schools, etc., etc., paying the plaintiffs’ attorneys.”

  • cry4turtles

    After reading the newspaper comments, I’m encouraged and proud to be a “Muppear”!

  • Chiroptera

    …by voting down a proposal to put up a display saying “In God We Trust” in the county courthouse.

    Huh. Maybe they can make the sign look like a big dollar bill. Then they can claim it’s not a relgious message; they’re just putting out the message that the county courthouse dispenses the best justice money can buy.

  • Ysidro

    I was so glad to hear this. One of the crazier things I heard from a councilman was “Eisenhower did that and he beat the Nazis”. The end. Full stop. Beat nazis, get to violate the Constitution.

  • Kevin Kehres

    Eisenhower trusted god, but brought about a million men with guns along with him to help god along.

  • Marcus Ranum

    Good timing… I was just at the county courthouse to meet someone and noticed they have a great big Cecil DeMille “ten commandments” plaque on the front of the building. *sigh* And some horribly cheesy 9/11 monument about “god taking his own” Time to call the FFRF.