Mobile County commission votes to allow display of “In God We Trust”

Request made to display motto in Mobile's Government Plaza building

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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) – UPDATE (6/19 12:30 p.m.): The Mobile County Commission voted 2-1 Thursday to display “In God we Trust” inside the Government Plaza building in Mobile.

There were plenty of people on hand to speak on the issue before a vote was taken.

PUBLIC SPEAKS FIRST

The agenda item was a resolution authorizing the public display of the national motto “In God We Trust” in Government Plaza.

Amanda Scott of Mobile said, “Some of us are polytheists that believe in multiple gods and goddesses, and, some us are atheists who don’t believe in any gods. I, myself, am an atheist.”

Attorney Vivian Beckerle said, “In more recent years, the words “In God We Trust” have served as a ‘Religious Right’ rallying cry to promote a particular Christian faith.”

And David Underhill of Mobile said, “Ask yourselves whether you would be willing to remove the phrase periodically and replace it with ‘In Allah We Trust’.”

Eight people spoke against the resolution, one for it.

Pete Riehm of Mobile said, “The County of Mobile proudly does begin its sessions with prayer, and I didn’t notice anybody being uncomfortable. It also has a pledge that we’ve been saying for a long time that acknowledges a cardinal truth that this nation is based on, that this is, ‘One Nation Under God.’ “

COUNTY COMMISSIONERS SPEAK

County commissioners then spoke.

Commissioner Merceria Ludgood said, “I cannot in good conscience support an action by this county commission that, I believe, at best, is a hollow gesture and, at worst divisive.”

Commissioner Jerry Carl said, “I personally support it and support it to the max. Whether it it is a political move or not, it really doesn’t make a difference to me at this point.”

Commission President Connie Hudson said, “I think its splitting hairs, at this point, to deny putting the national motto on a wall in this building.”

THE VOTE

The resolution was approved two to one.

Opponents spoke after the meeting.

Chuck Vonderahe said, “No surprise.”

Amanda Scott said, “If somebody did file a lawsuit, then, I would be very proud to sign as a co-plaintiff in that matter.”

And Commissioner Ludgood said, “They talk about the founding fathers and what happened at the Constitutional Convention. I know what happened to people who looked like me. When they were part of the discussion, they were the compromised piece. What are we going to do about slavery?”

WHO PAYS?

Hudson said the display won’t be paid for with public money.

She said a number of individuals and businesses have discussed contributing money to put up the motto.

Hudson said the commissioners will be the ones who decide where the motto will be put up.

When asked if there are any ideas right now, Hudson said, “Still thinking about it.”

Hudson also said the motto could be something like a medallion placed in the commission chamber.

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