As many celebrated Easter Sunday, we have a story about showing respect for God at Fresno City Hall. Fresno City Councilmember Garry Bredefeld wants the motto “In God We Trust” to be posted on the wall in council chambers behind the dais.
The city council will vote on this proposal by Bredefeld on May 11th. In the meantime, Bredefeld is asking for the community’s support in getting the motto in the chambers.
It’s a motto that is inscribed in the United State’s House and Senate Chambers, and court houses across the country. The motto, “In God we Trust” was adopted in the 1950s and signed into law by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The motto is not currently in the Fresno city council chambers. But Bredefeld wants to change that.
He said, “One-hundred and thirty-one California cities and counties have done the very same thing. They’ve put the national motto “In God We Trust” in their chambers. They’ve done that in 648 cities across the country. Fresno would be the latest and the largest in California.”
Bredefeld said the motto is simple.
“It’s about faith. It’s about placing your faith in God,” stated Bredefeld.
But he said the God part of that saying, does not pertain to any one religion.
He said, “It’s not about supporting one religion against another. It’s about supporting in God we trust. It’s about reaffirming our faith, it’s about looking at something larger than ourselves and making good decisions.”
Pastor Jim Franklin of Fresno’s Cornerstone Church said the potential addition would be great for the city right now.
Franklin said, “So here in this season especially, the time where there is so much turmoil within our nation and in our world, I think it’s good to make statement that yes, we have a higher authority, a higher power.”
But not all agree. The Central Valley Alliance of Atheists and Skeptics said if there is no one religion attached to the motto, president Mark Boyd asked, what is the point?
Boyd stated, “We consider it a meaningless statement. And it is, the more it’s used, the less meaning it holds for our country.”
Legal analyst Charles Magill said the motto could open the city up to lawsuits from those who find it offensive.
“They could certainly file a lawsuit claming that the city is violating their religious freedom or their lack of religion freedom,” stated Magill.
But Magill does suspect people will move forward with such litigation. Atheists like Boyd said they don’t have a position on the motto, since to them it’s meaningless.
Bredefeld hopes other council members will support his push for “In God We Trust”.
Other Fresno County cities that have “In God We Trust” in their council chambers include: Fowler, Huron, Kerman, Orange Cove, Reedley, Sanger, and Selma.