by: Ken Lemon Updated:
CHINA GROVE, N.C. - China Grove Police are putting new decals on their patrol cars that are creating some controversy.
The department received the new logos for its cars with the words, “In God We Trust.” The words can also be found on China Grove Fire Department vehicles and on the wall at the China Grove Town Hall.
“I love it,” said supporter Ronald Spears.
The department posted a photo on its Facebook page that has received a lot of attention.
“A lot of these officers put their lives on the line,” supporter Sam Roberts said. “That’s their belief. They believe in that and they are allowed to show that on the cars.”
They posted a follow-up post saying it respects everyone’s opinions, “even if we may disagree with those opinions.”
"If they don't like it, they don't have to come to China Grove," Mayor Pro Tem Steve Stroud said, defending the new motto on the police cars.
Stroud said he knows it’s a biblical term placed on cars for public service to people of all views, but he said the people of China Grove like it.
Stroud said it is not intended to tell people who to worship and people with different views won’t be denied equal justice.
The mayor pro tem said after the city council got approval to have the word place in council chambers, the police chief asked about placing them on the back of police cars. It's an idea that he said got unanimous support from the council.
He is not happy with people who object to their decision.
A civil liberties group in Seattle is worried. Ray Roberts the head of the Original Motto Project spoke to Channel 9 about the decision.
“This is not about majority rules. This is about separation of church and state,” he said.
Roberts said people of differing views may feel targeted by police and his group will sue if they get a complaint from someone in China Grove.
“It is an imposition of religion by an authoritative government agency,” he said.
He urged the city to change the decals to the Latin term for the phrase, "From many comes one."
The mayor pro tem said his citizens have spoken.
"Not some whiners from across the country,” Stroud said.
He said expect to see the words on fire trucks next.
The mayor of China Grove said the town is very open and inclusive to everyone.
He said the words, "In God We Trust," are a national motto.
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