After Public Outcry, Freeport (IL) Library Board Rejects Religious Motto Display

Earlier this week, I posted about a library in Freeport, Illinois that was considering putting the phrase “In God We Trust” in the building in some prominent way.

Even Mayor Jodi Miller weighed in, urging them to do it because “The original purpose of this phrase was to express unity. Let’s not allow division to take place any longer.” Somehow, a phrase meant to promote the Christian god would unify atheists and Muslims and Hindus. No wonder Freeport’s nickname is “Pretzel City.” They’re twisting reality over there.

When the board met last month, they voted 4-4 in favor of the idea. So they decided to take some time, rethink the proposal, and vote again at the next meeting. That happened last night. One more board member was present (so there wouldn’t be a tie) And the way everything went down was unbelievable.

Check out these details from the Freeport Journal Standard

During the public comments section, 21 people spoke against placing the sign on the building and six spoke in favor of the motto. Library Executive Director Emily Klonicki said she also received 36 letters and phone calls on the subject, with 27 people stating opposition to the sign and eight supporting it. At least 70 members of the public attended the meeting.

People showed up and voiced their opposition to the religious advertisement.

Barbara Vines, a local critic of the idea, told me that one speaker also brought along a petition signed by 300 people — “over 200 of whom were Freeport residents.”

Ultimately, the board voted 5-4 against the sign.

Board members Jim Ferrar, Jim Bienlien, Larry Pittsley, Nita White and Sue Bukas voted against the signage. Rebecca Quiggle, Gwen Crow, Jennie DeVine and Nannette McMurray voted in its favor.

That’s what can happen when people show up and make solid arguments against a bad idea. Every now and then, the people in charge actually listen. Well… at least just over half of them.

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