Chowchilla council votes to display ‘In God We Trust’ sign

A sign seen on the exterior of Atwater City Hall in December 2015 reads “In God We Trust.”
A sign seen on the exterior of Atwater City Hall in December 2015 reads “In God We Trust.” Merced Sun-Star file

The Chowchilla City Council has voted to install a sign reading “In God We Trust” in a prominent location in the council’s chambers.

The council voted unanimously Tuesday to direct staff to draft a report on design, location and cost.

The council joins scores of other California cities and counties that have made similar decisions, according to In God We Trust America Inc., a Bakersfield-based organization founded “to protect America’s religious heritage,” according to its website.

Last year, the Atwater City Council approved plans to post privately funded signs at City Hall despite pushback from detractors who said they alienated nonreligious citizens.

“We proudly stand behind this patriotic statement so valued by our country,” Chowchilla Mayor Waseem Ahmed said in a statement.

“As our nation faces difficult times, as it has in the past, we can draw strength in the knowledge that ‘In God We Trust’ has carried us forward to create the great nation that we are today. And by having this motto proudly displayed in the Chowchilla Council Chambers, we apply that same patriotic fervor into all that we do for our city,” he said.

The Chowchilla City Council will vote in December on the best location for the sign.

According to Brad Dacus, president of Sacramento-based Pacific Justice Institute, a Christian nonprofit legal defense group, legal precedent has protected the ability of government agencies to display the language, which appears on U.S. currency.