Anderson County Officials Vote to Put ‘In God We Trust’ Sign on Courthouse Wall, Despite Dealing with ‘ACLU Crap’

Anderson County officials in Tennessee have nothing better to do with their time, so they’ve decided to stick it to local atheists by putting up a sign on the front of the county courthouse reading “In God We Trust” at the request of Mayor Terry Frank.

Because you can’t get any work done unless God’s name is on your door…

The Anderson County Courthouse, making God angrier every day his name isn’t on the property.

The ACLU doesn’t see any benefit to doing that, even though it’s the national motto:

“People of all faiths, as well as non-believers, should feel welcome in their government buildings,” ACLU official Hedy Weinberg said in a statement.

“The County Commission should focus on doing real work that represents the interests of all residents, not sowing the seeds of religious divisiveness in the community by challenging the fundamental founding principle that government must remain neutral when it comes to matters of faith,” Weinberg wrote.

The 12-4 vote in favor of putting up the sign was made before any committee discussed the plan and laid out the ramifications and consequences.

The Mayor’s husband, obviously a perfectly rational and intelligent guy, also weighed in on the debate:

Lee Frank, husband of Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank, castigated the ACLU and its likely stance on the issue during Tuesday’s meeting. “We don’t need to deal with that ACLU crap here,” he said.

“The reference to ‘ACLU crap’ is troubling,” the ACLU’s Weinberg wrote, “because our work focuses solely on protecting and promoting our constitutional guarantees, including religious freedom, which are principles we hope would be embraced by everyone.”

Weinberg speaks the truth — the ACLU defends Christians all the time, in case anyone forgot.

But I’m sure FFRF is coming after them, too. So the county better be prepared to defend itself. I’m sure the locals won’t mind their tax money being wasted by the unnecessary whims of the county commissioners.

And for what? To show Christians that they get special treatment in Anderson County courtrooms while atheists won’t get the justice they deserve.

Even if that’s not the explicit purpose, it’s certainly the effect the sign will have on those who see it.

Mayor Frank, by pushing for this sign, is just letting her constituents know that they only matter to her if they believe in the same God she does.

(Thanks to Will for the link)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Sue them and let them get their asses handed to them. Eventually this will happen enough that they’ll learn. But if they insist on breaking the law, them hold them over the fire.

  • fin312

    Wow,this could be a good debate in court. If it’s the “national motto”, then I think for non-theists to prevail the courts have to declare the “national motto” unconstitutional. This could be an interesting one!

  • fin312

    If the courts declare the “national motto” as said at the beginning of this blog unconstitutional, that could bring a new round of battles in courts. The ACLU said “The ACLU doesn’t see any benefit to doing that,even though it’s the national motto”, if they didn’t say it’s illegal or uncostitutional,then more likely than not it’s ok.

  • DougI

    Imagine where this country could have been if fundies weren’t there wasting so much time and taxpayer money with their BS. Yet again the religious are trying to force their religion upon everyone else (when they aren’t allowed to force their religion they’ll cry persecution like the whiny bitches they are). People unemployed, homeless, hungry, doesn’t matter, they gotta force religion upon others regardless of the harm they are causing society. But these pricks wake up every day feeling morally superior and honestly believe they are the only positive force in society. Fuck them all.

  • Kengi

    Crap like this is why the motto needs to change again. Since the motto has already been upheld in court, I’m not sure how that will happen, though. It’s also why this will actually be an uphill battle in this case since they will be fighting the ever-so-ironic precedent that the phrase has lost all of its religious meaning and significance.

    Who knows, though. Maybe it is the time to have that horrible Ninth Circuit ruling overturned. Maybe we can get the fundies to pray for that phrase to have religious meaning once again. Sounds like the sort of thing they would do…

  • Mark McCoy

    This reminds me of the scene at the end of the movie “The American President”.

    “For the record: yes, I am a card-carrying member of the ACLU. But the more important question is why aren’t you, Bob? Now, this is an organization whose sole purpose is to defend the Bill of Rights, so it naturally begs the question: Why would a senator, his party’s most powerful spokesman and a candidate for President, choose to reject upholding the Constitution?”

  • Helanna

    Jeez. It’s bad enough when these people are fighting to uphold things because “It’s tradition” or “It’s always been there” or “Nobody has complained before”, but to actually be putting up new stuff, with the full knowledge that you will probably be sued and that you’re excluding a good portion of your citizens? For no reason other than to make sure that everybody knows you really, really love Jesus? That’s sickening.

  • A3Kr0n

    If that was my city I would have no problem tearing down that sign. Don’t give a rat’s ass if I go to jail, either.

  • Cecelia

    ^^^^^ THIS!!!

    Enough of this kiddy-table bullshit. They pull this shit, we pull down the signs!

  • Cecelia

    “ACLU Crap” – I wonder if these idiots understand the clinet of the ACLU is the Bill of Rights. The same Bill of Rights they love to use when it suits their needs, and will use in court for their purposes? BUT, when the Bill of Rights does not suit their needs, it becomes “ACLU Crap”.

    Hypocrites all of them.

  • Kengi

    Civil disobedience certainly can be effective under some circumstances, but I doubt this is one of them. The situation would need a more clear, specific demonstration of injustice to build the act upon. If there was a specific court case in that county which obviously discriminated and caused harm to an atheist, such an act of civil disobedience could highlight that case.

    Without such a situation, it would most likely give atheists more negative press than positive support. Also keep in mind it would harm any legitimate indignation we have when atheist signs and displays are stolen or destroyed.

    I’m open to my mind being changed on this since Rosa Parks is a personal hero to me, so give it a shot.

  • Alisa Penmane

    Hopefully, there is a defense attorney with half a mind in that county who will recognize that his atheist clients are not getting a fair trial and can make a enough cases for appeal.

  • Sven2547

    That’s the mentality of the vandals who tear down atheist billboards…

  • A3Kr0n

    But I wouldn’t run away…

  • Kengi

    Not all of the Christian vandals ran away. Do you respect the civil disobedience of Joe McDonald, who destroyed an atheist banner in Pennsylvania, because he didn’t run? Did that make his act morally right?

  • Cecelia

    The difference is that the atheist banner was placed in that position LEGALLY. This one, by the politician’s own words, is ILLEGAL and not allowed.

    If you think this is the same, you are out there.

  • Cecelia

    You mean legally allowed and placed atheist ads? Where as this one, the one being placed there in violation of law and the Constitution is all hunky-dory? Nope. Rip that fucker down if it goes up.

    Also, who owns the sign? Is it the county? Mayor? Is it privately owned and being put up? Try sifting through that when the cops arrive. If it is municipal property then there is the smoking gun for court – the sign was made with public money ie – ILLEGALLY – and you have proof.

    No, ripping it down can only serve out purpose in multiple ways and push these cowardly religious idiots back under the fridge.

  • Kengi

    According to the Ninth Circuit ruling on the motto, the sign on the courthouse is also legal. Following federal court precedence is not “out there”. Perhaps the time to challenge that ruling has come, but it’s not as clear a case as you imply.

  • Kengi

    Check out Aronow v. United States:

    and Newdow v. Lefevre:

    You may not like it, and want to have it changed, but, as of now, it is the law.

  • Movin OnDwn

    ‘In God We Trust’… still they want cash …

  • Movin OnDwn

    ‘In God We Trust’’cause you can’t prove this bull.

  • Kengi

    Vandalism against public property is still vandalism. That’s why removing or destroying it would be civil disobedience.

  • Sven2547

    I agree that the sign is illegal, but ripping it down is nothing more than barbarous vigilantism. Right or wrong, it’s still the same mentality: attacking “the enemy” by ripping down their stuff.

  • fin312

    “In God We Trust” all others pay cash.

  • newavocation

    Defending God takes money, of course the money doesn’t go to God now does it? Get the picture?