Granite Quarry officials asked to put ‘In God We Trust’ on Town Hall

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 8, 2017


GRANITE QUARRY — The U.S. Motto Action Committee, founded and based in Davidson County, has asked the town of Granite Quarry to display the words “In God We Trust” in the boardroom or on the outside of Town Hall.

Rick Lanier, co-founder and vice chairman of the U.S. Motto Action Committee, made the request to the Granite Quarry Board of Aldermen on Monday evening.

Lanier said Granite Quarry would join 49 N.C. counties and 37 town halls that now display “In God We Trust,” including Rowan County and the town of China Grove. He described the motto as “our nation’s identity” and said town officials would not have to worry about a legal challenge.

The motto stands “on solid, legal ground,” Lanier said.

At the end of his presentation Monday night, Lanier told aldermen, “Thank you in advance for your ‘yes’ vote.”

Lanier had furnished aldermen with photographic examples of how the motto would look on the exterior of Town Hall and in letters on the wall behind their board seats.

The exterior aluminum letters would be 6 inches tall and painted white, according to Lanier’s example.

The boardroom letters would be 4-inch-high, black acrylic letters taped to the wall.

Lanier said the average cost for installing a motto is $2,500 per location, which is paid by donations to the U.S. Motto Action Committee.

Alderman Arin Wilhelm said he appreciated Lanier’s presentation but noted aldermen have initiated plans to remodel Town Hall, and that renovation will affect both the exterior facade and the boardroom.

Mayor Bill Feather said the town is entering a first phase of what could be a two-year remodeling of Town Hall.

Still, Lanier pressed the town board to give its approval Monday night in principle, then later decide where to incorporate the motto.

Similar action was taken in Madison and Mayodan, where government buildings also were being renovated, Lanier said.

Alderman Jim LaFevers noted that several government buildings have removed the Ten Commandments under legal challenge and public pressure.

Lanier said the “In God We Trust” motto is different and something that was approved by Congress during the Eisenhower administration.

“That’s what protects you from legal challenge,” Lanier said.

Alderman Jim Costantino said he would like to hear public discussion on the request.

LaFevers said the incorporation, or not, of the motto could be taken up as the board and public look at design plans for the Town Hall renovation.

Feather agreed the board should “have our architect look at it, and we’ll go from there.”

Lanier first became involved in this “In God We Trust” issue while he was a Davidson County commissioner from 1998 to 2002.

The installation of “In God We Trust” was completed on the Davidson County Governmental Center on Dec. 29, 2002, and Lanier said he co-founded the U.S. Motto Action Committee the next day.

A federal lawsuit, supported by the American Civil Liberties Union, was brought against Davidson County on June 24, 2003, and it cited a constitutional violation of the separation of church and state.

U.S. District Court Judge William Osteen Sr. dismissed the lawsuit in May 2004. The U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Osteen’s decision a year later, and on Nov. 14, 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case, letting the lower court’s decision stand.

The U.S. Motto Action Committee’s website quotes Bible verses and says its mission is “to defend, promote and assist in the awareness and furtherance of our U.S. Motto, ‘In God We Trust,’ on public buildings, structures, monuments, the printed page, and to encourage our godly heritage in various other aspects.”

Since January 2015, Lanier said, more than 80 municipalities have voted “yes” to display “In God We Trust” in or on government buildings.

He said 33 N.C. sheriff’s departments, 13 police departments and 20 fire department fleets have installed some 2,700 “In God We Trust” reflective decals on vehicles.

The U.S. Motto Action Committee provides those decals free to public agencies.

Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.