The Allegheny County council in Pennsylvania voted 8-6 to reject the posting of “In God We Trust” in its chambers.
The official motto of the United States, which was adopted in 1956 as a countermeasure against the perceived encroachment of Communism on the country, was deemed to be an inappropriate addition to the council chambers.
Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald had threatened to veto the measure if it passed, calling it a “movement by the right-wing evangelical Christians across the country basically to impose Christianity” in public buildings.
“Support and passage of [the proposed legislation] tells our residents and visitors that if they are Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Athiest, Muslim, Islamic or any other non-theistic group, they are not welcomed here. We are disrespecting other religions and beliefs by promoting one above all others,” Fitzgerald said in an email to council members before the vote was held. “If this legislation were to pass, we are telling everyone that our motto is that not all are welcome here.”
All five Republicans on the council voted for the display, as did one Democrat, while eight Democrats opposed the idea of the government supporting one religion over others. Councilman Charles Martoni, who co-sponsored the bill, ultimately voted against it. “The more I looked at it, it’s unnecessary,” he said.