A Tennessee courthouse this week unveiled the first of four "In God We Trust" signs, and one local pastor isn't worried about what atheists think because Christians "have a right to the democratic process and majority rule."
Earlier this year, the Anderson County Commission voted to put the county's motto, "In God We Trust," on the outside of the county courthouse, even though the move have been criticized by the Tennessee chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
"People of all faiths, as well as non-believers, should feel welcome in their government buildings," ACLU-Tennessee Executive Director Hedy Weinberg said in a statement at the time. "The County Commission should focus on doing real work that represents the interests of all residents, not sowing the seeds of religious divisiveness in the community by challenging the fundamental founding principle that government must remain neutral when it comes to matters of faith."
But during a February commissioners meeting, Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank's husband, Lee Frank, echoed the views of many who dismissed concerns about the signs, saying, "We don’t need to deal with that ACLU crap here."
And on Tuesday, the first of four signs was unveiled on the exterior of the courthouse. Each granite plaque weighs 170 pounds and has the words "In God We Trust" in gold leaf lettering.
About 175 people were on hand to celebrate the unveiling.
"Whether you agree with this or disagree with this, the democratic process took place," Clinton Baptist Association Director of Missions Tom Byrge told Oak Ridge Today in a report published on Wednesday. “The majority of the U.S. citizens will continue to believe, and will not be ashamed to say, ‘In God We Trust.’”
Calvary Baptist Church Pastor Steve McDonald suggested that separation of church and state could be ignored because of "majority rule."
"This is people standing up for what they believe in," McDonald said. "We have a right to the democratic process and majority rule."
Three additional signs were expected to be installed on the courthouse by the end of the week. Private donors raised $4,812 to pay for the signs.
"We need God in it," Anderson County resident Charles Bivens told WATE. "We need a God thing. If we don't have a God thing we're going backwards. Amen."
(h/t: Friendly Atheist)