November 2014 Church & State | AU Bulletin

Officials in Ballwin, Mo., have voted 6-2 not to accept a donation to display the motto “In God We Trust” in its board room.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the Holy Infant Parish and Knights of Columbus offered to donate $750 to pay for the sign, with supporters arguing that the motto merely represents patriotism, and not religious fervor. A spokesman for the Knights of Columbus noted that the motto was adopted in the 1950s and is historical, rather than religious.

Cynthia Holmes, the president of Americans United’s St. Louis Chapter, testified against the display and told the board that she was “shocked at the notion” that “In God We Trust” isn’t religious.

“I reminded them that their responsibility was to all Ballwin residents, and they should not do anything that would make any feel excluded,” she said later.

Several members of the Board of Aldermen agreed, expressing concern that displaying “In God We Trust” would have a divisive effect on the local community. They instead backed the city’s non-sectarian motto, “Bringing People Together.”