Pastor Cites ‘Majority Rule’ in Favor of ‘In God We Trust’ Sign at Anderson County Courthouse

Earlier this year, at the request of Mayor Terry Frank, officials in Anderson County, Tennessee voted to put up a sign on the front of the county courthouse reading “In God We Trust”:

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

The ACLU argued that this sign could violate church/state separation and it’s hard to argue with that since it seems so obvious in this case. That didn’t stop Frank’s husband, Lee, from telling the press, “We don’t need to deal with that ACLU crap here.”

I bring all of this up because, on Tuesday morning, the “In God We Trust” plaque was unveiled over one of the entrances to the courthouse (another three signs are expected to go up by the end of the week):

One family — just one — sings to celebrate the new sign (via Oak Ridge Today)

“This is people standing up for what they believe in,” said Steve McDonald, pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Oak Ridge. “We have a right to the democratic process and majority rule.”

“Whether you agree with this or disagree with this, the democratic process took place,” said Tom Byrge, director of missions for Clinton Baptist Association. “The majority of the U.S. citizens will continue to believe, and will not be ashamed to say, ‘In God We Trust.’”

Who knew the Bill of Rights was subject to popular vote? (And if we’re playing that game, can we call a vote to repeal the Second Amendment after the next inevitable massacre?)

By the way, not a single story I’ve read about this plaque has quoted a single non-Christian in support of the sign or at the unveiling ceremony. You’d be hard-pressed to find any.

In fact, supporters of the plaque bent over backwards trying to explain how this was really inclusive of everyone and not just for Christians:

“If it said ‘In Jesus We Trust’ then someone would have a legitimate complaint that we were showing religious bias against some religion,” said Myra Mansfield, of Oak Ridge. “But it says ‘In God We Trust’ and that is inclusive of all religions.”

Supporters like [Anderson County resident Charles] Bivens believe the signs are exactly what is needed for the county and country to continue to prosper.

“We need God in it,” said Bivens. “We need a God thing. If we don’t have a God thing we’re going backwards. Amen.”

Inclusive of all religions. All of them! Islam, too? Interesting. I guess that also includes all those polytheistic religions… somehow.

This entire debacle just lends credibility to the idea that non-religious individuals won’t get a fair shake if they have to go to court. The judges didn’t have anything to do with the signs, but what else are you supposed to think when you walk into a building that says “In God We Trust” when you enter?

It really makes no sense when you consider why we even have courts in the first place: Judges and juries make (hopefully) objective rulings because God can’t do it Himself. You go to court because God isn’t there to settle the issues for us.

I guess we can always put an optimistic spin on this by saying the only reason Christian need godly signs at the courthouse is because they’re the ones more likely to end up in court. (Oh, snap!)

Incidentally, God may have been sending installation crews signs of disapproval when they tried to put up the plaque on Monday night:

There was a compressor that went on the blink, drill bits that wore out and a hydraulic hose malfunction on a rented scissors lift.

Take the hint, Christians. Take down the signs. God doesn’t love you more just because you put them up.

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.


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