The phrase “In God We Trust” wasn’t causing any offense in the Wentzville city council until an organized protest that included both locals and non-residents suggested the motto has no place in a public building because it assumes everyone trusts in God, Fox News reports.
The voices of dissent prompted people in town to rally in favor of the national motto — words that are also featured on U.S. currency.
Hundreds of supporters came to show their support Wednesday for the decision of the mayor and council to display the motto.
“When I heard our national motto was under question or under attack, I wanted to come here. I’m only one person, but I can pray,” said local Mary Lou Rogers in a report from KMOV-TV.
Sally Hunt, who lives in the adjacent community of Maryland Heights, was removed from the council chamber last month after she attended to speak for the removal of the motto and went overtime in doing so.
“It’s offensive to a lot of people, I’m outspoken about it but there are a lot of people like me that are afraid to speak out publicly,” Hunt told the council, KMOV-TV reported. “It says ‘In God We Trust’ when it should say ‘in God some of us trust.”
Hunt has been joined by other outsiders to protest, with the Freedom From Religion Foundation and the Appignani Humanist Legal Center also raising their objections to the sign and saying it was the “foisting of religion onto the rest of the community,” in a letter, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Mayor Nick Guccione dismissed the brouhaha and said the decision to display the motto garnered little attention until he credited local Rotarians and members of the Kiwanis Club with providing the funds for the project.
“The overwhelming majority is in support of what we’ve done,” he said. “I don’t understand why it is offensive, but you can’t please everybody,” Guccione said Wednesday. “I will not take it down. I will stand strong on it. I do believe it’s our national motto and it promotes patriotism.”