In Pennsylvania, the Allegheny County Council has rejected the ‘In God We Trust’ proposal, citing the necessity of separation between church and state.
On Tuesday, County Council members voted 6-8, failing to pass a bill that would have placed the motto in the Gold Room of the County Courthouse, where council meets.
Council members who voted against the proposal said they were concerned that posting the motto would blur the line separating church and state.
“Whenever we start mixing them, there is going to be problems,” said Councilman Michael Finnerty, D-Scott, who voted against posting the motto.
Fitzgerald on Monday sent a letter to council urging members to vote against the proposal and threatening to veto it if it came to his desk. He said posting the phrase would expose the county to a lawsuit and send an unwelcoming message to Jews, Hindus, Buddists, Muslims, atheists and followers of other non-Christian religions.
“I am pleased that Allegheny County will continue to be a community that welcomes diverse populations with different viewpoints and ways of life,” Fitzgerald said.
Rabbi Aaron Bisno of Rodef Shalom Temple in Oakland wants elected officials to “spend their time solving real problems, rather than posturing or presuming about that which we all share in common,” he said. “Religion, in our culture, is best kept as a private concern.”
In a confusing twist, TribLive interviewed faith leaders from different religions who said that they had no problem with “In God We Trust,” because, for example, “God comes in many forms — an elephant, a dog.” Other faith leaders told TribLive that atheists should “not be bothered” by the motto. No atheist or Humanist leaders were interviewed by TribLive for this story. You can read the entire report on their website at http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/6763985-74/god-county-motto