Florida sheriff says he refuses to remove new ‘In God We Trust’ decals on patrol cars

A Florida sheriff says he has no plans to remove decals with the motto ‘In God We Trust’ from the agency’s patrol cars.

On October 27, the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office announced on Facebook that it would be redesigning its marked vehicles over the next few years with new graphics.

These included an American flag on the side of the car and the phrase ‘In God We Trust’ – the official motto of the US and Florida – on the back.

It drew criticism from atheists and agnostics, who said the decal was ‘inappropriate and exclusionary’, reported Florida Today.

But Sheriff Wayne Ivey has doubled down and says the motto is here to stay.

The Brevard County Sheriff's Office, in Florida, announced it was redesigning its patrol car vehicles on October 27 including an American flag (pictured) and an 'In God We Trust' decal

The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office, in Florida, announced it was redesigning its patrol car vehicles on October 27 including an American flag (pictured) and an ‘In God We Trust’ decal

Atheists and agnostics said the decals with the motto (lower right) are 'inappropriate and exclusionary'

Atheists and agnostics said the decals with the motto (lower right) are ‘inappropriate and exclusionary’

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wisconsin, condemned the department’s actions and called for the decals to removed 

‘Spending taxpayer time placing religious messages on patrol cars is beyond the scope of secular government,’ FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor wrote in a letter to Ivey, 

‘Further, in a time when citizens nationwide are increasingly distrustful of law enforcement officers’ actions, it is frightening and politically dubious for the local police department to announce to citizens that officers rely on the judgment of a deity rather than on the judgment of the law.’

But Ivey defended the plan, saying the community supports the change and that it won’t cost taxpayers any money.

According to Florida Today, an organization called Boniface Heirs Automotive Group is sponsoring the work. 

‘They have a better chance of me waking up thin tomorrow morning than they do of me taking that motto off our cars!’ Ivey told Fox News on Thursday. 

Sheriff Wayne Ivey (pictured) said the new motto has community support and it won't cost taxpayers any money

Sheriff Wayne Ivey (pictured) said the new motto has community support and it won’t cost taxpayers any money

‘I personally believe that our country is at a tipping point, and if we, as strong patriotic Americans, don’t stand for the principals of our great nation, we are going to lose the America we all know and love!’

And he doubled down, telling Fox & Friends on Friday: ‘It was the right thing to do and we’re standing by it.’ 

County Commissioner John Tobia told Florida Today that he was standing behind Ivey’s decision.

‘If the sheriff, as our chief law enforcement officer, has done the research on this issue and finds that putting ‘In God We Trust’ on patrol cars is a need which will measurably lower crime rates in Brevard County, I accept that determination,’ he said.

‘In God We Trust’ first appeared on a US coin in 1864 due to surging religious sentiment during the Civil War, according to the website of the US Treasury Department.

In July 1956, President Dwight Eisenhower signed a law requiring the motto to appear on all American currency. 

Advocates of the separation of church and state have criticized the phrase, “god” but supporters say the word ‘God’ does not refer to a specific god and, thus, does not endorse any one religion.

Source

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