Council Legislation

Proposed Resolution No. R2014-80s

Title: A Resolution of the Pierce County Council, in the State of Washington, Supporting the Permanent Display of the National Motto "In God We Trust" in the County Council Chambers in a Prominent Location.

Status: Passed

Sponsors: Councilmembers Jim McCune

Final votes

July 29, 2014
Aye Aye Aye Nay Nay Aye Nay

Additional legislative records are available below Collapse All  Expand All

Public Comments

Name Date Comment
Deena Fritz 7/27/14 9:13 PM I support the display of our National Motto. We should be proud of our country and its heritage founded in the freedom OF religion.
Mark Bethune 7/28/14 6:23 AM Consistent with national policy and procedure. A reminder for politicians of the fact that all begins and ends with God and His glory.
Brad Tankersley 7/28/14 10:44 AM Hello Sirs and Madams, I oppose this proposed resolution on a few grounds. First, the ultimate authority of law in the United States is our Constitution and Bill of Rights. The erecting of a display quoting a national motto detracts from that ultimate authority. Second, by sponsoring this resolution Councilmember Jim McCune is acting against the language of SCOTUS in Walz v. Tax Commission "...a benevolent neutrality which will permit religious exercise to exist without sponsorship..." Third, Pierce County is a diverse secular community that no single motto could describe. The Pierce County motto should not imply segregation. Does "In god we trust" represent the Buddhist community? No. Does the motto represent the Non-religious? No. The motto only represents those who believe that a deity is the ultimate authority over the decision making processes of the Pierce County Council. Thus it only represents a single segment of the Pierce County community. Last, The City of Tacoma has already establish a motto
Jane Pulliam 7/28/14 11:33 AM How can you consider posting "In God We Trust" in the county council chambers without offending Jehovah, or Shiva, or the Great Spirit, or Buddha, or Allah, or Mother Universe, or the Goddess? I know residents of Pierce County who worship these various Gods. It is their First Amendment right to do so. As an elected official it is unconscionable that you would place your own religious beliefs above another.
Joan T. Wekell 7/28/14 11:52 AM I support the separation of church and state.
Charlene Lenti 7/28/14 12:01 PM the Washington Constitution is quite direct. From Section 1 Article 11 "No public money or property shall be appropriated for or applied to any religious worship, exercise or instruction, or the support of any religious establishment."
Stoughton Bailie 7/28/14 12:18 PM Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; My own religion....not yours.
Maria Lewis 7/28/14 12:34 PM To support this idea on the basis of "heritage" is completely unfounded. And makes our local leaders look uninformed, uneducated and insensitive. Just as there were reasons to add the name of God to our paper money and pledge of allegiance in the 50s (essentially fear-mongering against the potential infiltration "Godless Communists" in the U.S.)... there were explicit reasons to not include the language of "God" and "equality" in the original texts. Sure our forefathers established this country on the basis of religious freedom, but a freedom from religious persecution facilitated through a true separation of church and state was the idea. This proud Navy Veteran and Christian says no to this idea. Anyone who enters into this space should feel it represents a system that is there for them without exclusion. Thank you for this opportunity.
Patty Airhart 7/28/14 12:35 PM Use the money for better roads or school.. What ever gave you the idea that we trust all of you guys.. lol Putting Gods name on the chambers makes no difference to how you vote..
Sarah Cutting 7/28/14 12:51 PM I wholeheartedly oppose this proposal. Displaying the message on the wall of my county council chambers gives people who do not happen to trust in God the message that the county government is biased against them and their beliefs. Simply because the motto is a part of our history that still lingers in other parts of the country is not a good enough reason to enshrine it here. Rather, the opposite; it is a good reason to stand by the separation of church and state, and to tell all of our citizens that they are equally welcome in the halls of the government that is supposed to serve them. If a patriotic motto is needed, how about "e pluribus unum?" Please do not take this backwards step away from equality.
John Sage 7/28/14 1:49 PM There is absolutely no reason to waste taxpayer money attempting to post a statement of religion in a government office. This country is not and never has been a Christian nation. This country is filled with people of all different religions, and to show support for one over another is not only unconstitutional, it is outrageous!
Dmitri Keating 7/28/14 2:38 PM The term "In God we Trust" is an exclusionary term that does not define what God, but is most often defined as a christian value. If one wanted to place the term "In Our Gods We Trust" than this may be a different story. Additionally as an atheist this terms has little to offer me and others with like minds. It also continues to blur the lines of laws separating Church and State that has been deeply eroded in the past 4 decades. We have bigger issues facing our city than this, a sign that would devalue and exlude certain citizens and is not needed in our governments public offices. Please do not allow this term In God We Trust to color our council as intolerant to non Christians. This is not the county we know and love.
James McCarty 7/28/14 3:16 PM As a Christian minister and theologian I oppose this legislation. Its rhetoric excludes those who profess no faith or trust in God. In addition, it has the ironic potential to encourage Christians to put their ultimate faith in secular government rather than in God. History is littered with examples of just this kind of thing happening. Finally, I believe it is a waste of government time, energy, and other resources to consider this proposal. Sincerely, Dr. James W. McCarty III
John Bernardo 7/28/14 4:09 PM Shame on you all!!! I think if your going to put anything on that wall it should be all inclusive symbol of what you as council officials represent..."The counties/The Cities/The People".
Greg towne 7/28/14 4:26 PM Great idea
James Bowman 7/28/14 5:58 PM An absolutely self serving waste of time and money. And to think I honestly thought that the purpose of the council was to solve problems and make Tacoma greater.
Derek Juhl 7/28/14 6:37 PM Official support of a deity has no place in a government of the USA. Our country was founded on the principle of separation of church and state. The First Amendment to our Constitution begins: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion..." Thomas Jefferson wrote to the Danbury Baptists in Connecticut: "Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State." Article 11 of The Treaty of Tripoli, signed by Pres John Adams, s
Laura Murphy 7/28/14 6:39 PM I believe in the separation of church and state. When these two things are intertwined, people lose rights and often even die. This motto may seemingly be a small thing but it sends a HUGE message and implies that laws and/or ordinances will be passed based on religious morality. To say that "God" is general enough to span most religions is sheer ignorance and possibly even thinly veiled arrogance.
Deborah Rader 7/28/14 8:23 PM What ever happened to separation of church and state?
Ray Newland 7/28/14 10:06 PM R2014-80s is, as written, a slap in the face to Pierce County residents who, like me, have no belief in one or more gods. I have sworn am oath to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, including those who would try to marginalizethose of us who do not share their religious beliefs. Nonsensical arguments that the proposed change is inclusive of Muslims and Jews says nothing of the callow disrespect it would show to Buddhists, Taoists, Hindus, Satanists, Pastafarians, and indeed to atheists. This measure is specifically designed to offer a privileged status to Christians, or at best, to monotheists, and violates both the spirit and the letter of the First Amendment to the US Constitution. Shame on those who would advocate or even entertain such an exclusive and decisive decision. Ray Newland Spanaway
Jeremy Wekell 7/29/14 7:07 AM I think this will push people away. There are many non religious people or people who have a different believe system. I think the council could be working on better projects.
Teresa Ciabattari 7/29/14 9:02 AM "In God We Trust" is not a timeless slogan going back to the Founders -- it is a political statement that was declared the national motto in 1956, during the Cold War Red Scare. It has no place in a secular setting. The Pierce County Council Chambers is a place to do the business of the county, not to espouse religious rhetoric that marginalizes citizens who do not share the same beliefs as is expressed in the motto. I encourage council members to support *all* citizens of Pierce County and to oppose the resolution. Thank you.
Mike Vendetti 7/29/14 9:06 AM Hello, Is this really necessary? How about we take the money going towards putting up a motto from the 50s and put it towards something like fixing roads, education, parks. Something worth while? Thank you for your time and service and dealing with what will probably (and unfortunately) be a lot of hate mail. Take care! -Mike
sam lawrence 7/29/14 9:16 AM I oppose the proposal for several reasons, however, I am not able to attend to voice my opposition. The motto "in god we trust" wasnt adopted until the 50s during the height of the communism scare, before that, the motto "e pluribus unum" or "from many, one" more closely resembles what the attitude of the US should be, many ideas coming together for a solution, working together. As an Athiest, I find it appalling that the statement "in god we trust" is still used, as I dont recognize any deity as existing. While I am in the minority in this case, more and more of the youth in this nation are seeing things through agnostic and athiest views and the numbers of non believers are increasing. The other reason I oppose this proposal is this opens the door to many small legal battles. What if someone that is pagan wants to have a similiar motto displayed on the wall in the chambers? Would you dismiss them on the grounds that the statement is the motto and would you be willing to fight many small legal battles
Lindsey Sehmel 7/29/14 10:47 AM This proposal is a waste of taxpayers time and money. You are (overly) paid representatives wasting time filling your agenda with meaningless Resolutions. Regardless of my spiritual and religious denomination, this agenda item is proof that my vote this September will be focused on finding a representative who is interested in actually doing work and not allowing the standing County Council to propose items that help their election. In specific comments regarding the proposal. I do not support this resolution and furthermore, I do not support the time and energy being wasted by County staff and County Council for even considering this resolution or placing it on the agenda for discussion.
Vanessa Henry 7/29/14 11:17 AM I appreciate my representative Connie Ladenburg opposing this proposal, and I urge all the council to reject it. I find the idea of putting this motto on display exclusionary and unnecessary. Thank you, Vanessa Henry
James Ducker 7/29/14 11:47 AM Vote No
Angela McDaniels 7/29/14 12:35 PM Two words describe this proposal: needlessly exclusionary. “In God WE Trust.” What about Pierce County citizens who do not trust in god? By posting such a plaque, the council is saying to those citizens, “You are not one of us. You are not included in ‘we.’” Why? What is the purpose of casting non-believers (and cynics, for that matter) as outsiders? Councilmembers can easily trust in god without the presence of a plaque, so this lopsided proposal would have the downside of alienating people without providing commensurate upside.
Karen McDowell 7/29/14 1:09 PM I would hope there would be an unanimous vote for this resolution for without the help of God where would this country be.
Jonathan Tolson 7/29/14 1:30 PM As a Pierce County resident, I support this proposal.
William Siems 7/29/14 5:03 PM I wholeheartedly support the proposal to display the model "in God we trust". Thank you.
Tony Bellizzi 7/29/14 6:50 PM I am typically NOT political, but this proposal is a clear violation of the separation of church and state. I PROMISE to assist in any campaign that will replace the 4 council members that voted in favor of this.
Pat Wilson 7/31/14 5:28 AM Good work. May God Bless your efforts.