Sheriff refuses to remove 'In God We Trust' from patrol car after atheists file complaint
A Florida sheriff has refused to remove "In God We Trust" decals from patrol cars after receiving a complaint from atheists.
The incident began when Sheriff Wayne Ivey announced on the Brevard County Sheriff's Office Facebook page that their patrol cars were getting a "brand new patriotic look" - as suggested by a citizen described as a "very proud veteran".
The post said: "In the coming months and years as our agency replaces our patrol fleet, our residents will see new patriotic graphics on our marked vehicles that show just how proud we are of our country and the principles our great nation was founded upon!!
However, because this included the phrase "In God We Trust", it attracted the attention of an atheist group, who said it was a wrongful way to spent taxpayers' money.
"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."
To see the sheriff defend the decision in an interview, check out the video below:
"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.
"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!"
County Commissioner John Tobia also backed the sheriff's decision, telling Florida Today that he stood behind it.
"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.
The phrase "In God We Trust" was first used on a US coin in 1864 to reflect the strong religious sentiment during the Civil War, according to the website of the US Treasury Department.