Is law enforcement use of ‘In God We Trust’ unconstitutional?

1 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Is law enforcement use of ‘In God We Trust’ unconstitutional?.

In police departments across the country, the official motto of the United States is making a comeback, sparking controversy in an already tense time for community-police relations. A Texas police chief said that the recent string of violent attacks against police officers led him to paste “In God We Trust” in capital letters on the back of his department’s patrol cars, despite protests from a nontheistic group asking him – and other police chiefs around the country – to take the words off the cars.

The Childress Police Department in Texas responded to an atheist group demanding it remove the phrase “In God We Trust” from its patrol cars by encouraging the Freedom From Religion Foundation to “go fly a kite.” “After carefully reading your letter I must deny your request in the removal of our Nations motto from our patrol units, and ask that you and the Freedom From Religion Foundation go fly a kite,” the memo reads. Invoking God in public and government-funded areas, including police cars, has long sparked the ire of groups such as the foundation, which seeks a separation of church and state. Garcia says the decals were placed on patrol vehicles in the Texas Panhandle town to express patriotism and also as a response to recent attacks nationally on law enforcement personnel. Nor would I favor removing the phrase from those settings even as I recognize that we live in a multicultural society where not all of us share the same religious values. Speaking with Fox and Friends on Wednesday morning, Garcia added that the motto was meant to be a rallying cry after the death of fellow Texas lawman Darren Goforth last month.

The sheriff initially took to the department’s official Facebook page on September 2 to share a photo of a patrol car along with the following message: “Please excuse the dirty unit. Childress followed dozens of other departments in at least five states — Texas, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky and Virginia — that have recently moved to prominently display the slogan. According to its website, the Wisconsin-based organization “works as an umbrella for those who are free from religion and are committed to the cherished principle of separation of state and church.” The evolving dialogue surrounding law enforcement spurred the decision to emblazon patrol cars with these decals, says Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-founder of FFRF. “Given the national scrutiny and shock over these police shootings of innocent African Americans, we’re seeing the police wrap themselves in the mantle of piety which makes it harder to criticize them,” Ms.

Both the Hutchinson County Sheriff’s Office and Seagraves, Texas police deaprtment were the most recent to do so. (©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. Notice what I will be putting on all Childress Police patrol units.” Chief Garcia said in a statement Tuesday: “As police officers, we are sworn to serve and protect the people of our city. In 2006, the US Senate reaffirmed this, and five years later the House of Representatives did the same when there were efforts to prevent the motto from being engraved in the Capitol Visitor Center. Monkey see and monkey do all over the country; it is so anti-intellectual imagining that God will protect them.” Childress County has about 7,000 people and is slightly less than 500 miles from where Goforth was slain.

It is un-American to suggest a police department should not be allowed to display our national motto.” “Our law enforcement officers work hard to keep our communities safe and deserve our support, not demands like this,” said Springer. “We are in the middle of a spiritual battle in America right now, with the issue of religious liberty front and center. Its use is of a patriotic or ceremonial character and bears no true resemblance to a governmental sponsorship of a religious exercise.” And in 2010, The Christian Science Monitor reported that the Ninth Circuit had upheld the use of “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance. As clerk, her department is responsible for issuing marriage licenses, and she has to make sure her office fulfills that responsibility even if she personally opposes same-sex marriages.

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