Pennsylvania's Allegheny County Council voted Tuesday night against placing a plaque in its chambers that would have included the words "In God We Trust."
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Council members rejected the placement of the national motto in an 8-6 vote, according to KDKA-TV. All opposing ballots belonged to Democrats, with five Republicans and one Democrat voting in favor of the measure.
The council ultimately felt that adding the faith-based sentiment inside the public building wasn't appropriate, siding with atheist activists and others who had previously spoken out against the proposal.
"Putting it on that wall does nothing to make us a better council," Councilman Jim Ellenbogen said Tuesday night, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
The display would have also included other mottos including, "Virtue, Liberty and Independence" and "E Pluribus Unum," which means "One out of many."
As TheBlaze previously reported, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, a Democrat, had vowed to veto the measure if it passed.
"Support and passage of [the proposed legislation] tells our residents and visitors that if they are Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Athiest, Muslim, Islamic or any other non-theistic group, they are not welcomed here," Fitzgerald said in an email to council members before the vote. "We are disrespecting other religions and beliefs by promoting one above all others."
He continued, “If this legislation were to pass, we are telling everyone that our motto is that not all are welcome here.”
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The Freedom From Religion Foundation, a church-state separatist group, has also spoken out against the proposed plague, which, if adopted, would be placed in Allegheny County’s courthouse.
“It is inappropriate for the County Council to adopt a proposal that would place ‘In God We Trust’ on the county’s courthouse,” Freedom From Religion Foundation co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor wrote in a September 3 letter to the council. “Statements about a god have no place in government buildings.”
But the Liberty Counsel, a conservative legal firm, offered to defend the county council against prospective legal threats following atheists’ objections. For now, though, it seems the issue has been settled.
Read more about the debate here.
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