In God They Trust

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Last week the Westminster City Council unanimously voted to use taxpayer’s money to buy a banner and hang it in the council chambers that says “In God We Trust.”

No one from the public commented on the issue—probably because nobody really knew about it (Westminster residents aren’t known for their civic involvement). The council talked about the matter for less than two minutes, according to the Orange County Register, and then the banner was approved 5-0.

Councilman Andy Quach told the Orange County Register “I’m a Buddhist myself, but God is a generic word and all of us believe in one God or the other.”

We do?

Honestly, I don’t care how the Westminster City Council wastes their taxpayer’s money…I don’t live there. I do find this banner nonsense to be pretty obnoxious—not because I’m an Atheist and there is no God in which I trust—but because it embodies everything that is wrong with Westminster; it is a city that is run by people that do not truly represent the residents that live in it.

This is a city that has the largest number of non-Christian residents in the county, and they squander city dollars on a sign that says “In God We Trust.”

When will this council wise up and smell the Bún riêu? 55% of the residents in Westminster are ethnic minorities. The council there should spend 55% of their time working on things that the residents of Westminster could appreciate. The council should stop playing ‘my crucifix is bigger than yours’ and forget about meaningless Christian banners.

If you need ideas Margie, start with a Vietnam War Memorial, a Vietnamese cultural center, or a Vietnamese Business Association.

  10 comments for “In God They Trust

  1. Jason B.
    July 17, 2007 at 10:53 pm

    Thanks for this post Mike. This is the kind of stuff that goes go under the radar all too often, maybe us young democrats can do something about this…

  2. July 17, 2007 at 11:30 pm

    One wonders how this might have been received if the banner was ordered to read “In Allah we trust.”
    They might have gotten some protest at the meeting, but it really is the same thing, isn’t it?

  3. Dan Chmielewski
    July 18, 2007 at 12:16 am

    Allah is Arabic for “God”

  4. Northcountystorm
    July 18, 2007 at 12:22 am

    Mike– ease up…. it’s our national motto. It’s hardly “a meaningless Christian banner.” And besides its status as the motto, last time I looked Jews and Muslims also trust in God..and according to Andy, Buddhists too!

    I agree that the Westminster Council needs to address a lot of more important issues but they’re not mutually exclusive. This took a few minutes and a di minimis amount of money. And if the Westminster Council more closely resembled the ethnicity of the City would this action seem less offensive to you?

  5. July 18, 2007 at 6:43 am

    Shouldn’t the banner read “In Van Tan we trust.” as that is who Andy and his amigos really worship?

  6. Frank N. Stein
    July 18, 2007 at 6:50 am

    Yes, our national motto is “In God We Trust”, but it only became that in 1956. And the phrase was not on our currency until the Civil War, when the Treasury Department caved to pressure by Christians who wanted to see God get some recognition by the government. These things were not in place because the founding fathers wanted them, the only thing they were responsible for putting on our money was the phrase “E Pluribus Unum”. This also appears on the Great Seal of the United States.

  7. July 18, 2007 at 8:28 am

    For Dan:
    Yes, “Allah” translates from Arabic to the English word “God.” So the meaning of such a banner would be exactly the same. But “God-fearing” folks from all parts would have been up in arms and objected to a City Council anywhere that wanted that banner. Strange.
    My point was that I.G.W.T. is acceptable to many because we see it everywhere. It loses it’s meaning and becomes part of the background noise. Tweak it a bit and people see the meaning and become uncomfortable with it.
    For NCS:
    I don’t think Mike is overreacting at all. Linking the approval of the banner to the lack of diversity on the council is a bit of a stretch. But the hanging of this banner is similar to the courthouses in the South that post the Ten Commandments and photos of Jesus. Where’s the ACLU when you need them?
    What elected official in their right mind who wants to be re-elected would vote against this one. It’s kind of the local version of the flag-burning amendment in that sense.
    Just so you know, I’m also adamantly against things like opening School Board/City Council meeting with prayer, city-sponsored Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast events, and religious convocations at commencement events. All while being a believer in some sort of nebulous higher power. Go figure!

  8. Northcountystorm
    July 18, 2007 at 5:16 pm

    LC—- I don’t think Mike is overreacting(I’ve never seen him do that), I just think he needs to ease up..consider some other facts. I don’t think the hanging of the banner is like the Kentucky courthouse case that was found unconstitutional–the 10 commandments is not the national motto, its not on our money. There is a historical usage for the phrase that puts it more into the context of the monuments with religious inscriptions in Texas found to be constitutional by the same Supreme Court on the same day they found the kentucky courthouse 10 commandments to be unconstitutional. And I suspect that the other activities on your hit list would also pass constitutional muster.

    But whatever…like I said, this is di minimis activity and where Mike is right on is that the Westminster Council should be much more active in promoting or building some of the items Mike suggested.

  9. July 19, 2007 at 6:21 am

    I’m with Frank on this one. Not everyone worships “God” or even a god. This violates the establishment clause: “Congress shall not make a law respecting the establishment of religion”.

  10. March 12, 2008 at 2:45 pm

    This isn’t over. Mission Viejo is considering this. And folks are pressuring the Westminster School Board to do the same.
    E Pluribus Unum was our unofficial national motto until it was replaced in 1956, during the McCarthy era.
    “Out of many, one” seems much more uniting and appropriate or a community as diverse as Westminster.

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