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Missouri residents square off for ‘In God We Trust’ display

March 1, 2018

WENTZVILLE, Mo. (AP) — A display of “In God We Trust” in an eastern Missouri city’s council chambers is sparking debate from supporters and opponents of the motto’s presence.

The motto’s been displayed in large letters on the Wentzville council dais since the building opened in November, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported .

The display was paid for with private funds, said Mayor Nick Guccione. He said the motto “promotes patriotism” and won’t be taken down.

“The overwhelming majority is in support of what we’ve done,” Guccione said. “I don’t understand why it is offensive, but you can’t please everybody.”

About 100 of the display’s supporters gathered outside City Hall for a prayer service before Wednesday’s council meeting.

“If you read the history of our country, it was founded on Christian moral values,” said Ginger Yoak, a Wentzville resident who attended the service. “And this motto doesn’t specify one particular religion, it can apply to different religions. This is our motto that represents our country’s values and I want to keep it.”

Opponents said the display doesn’t promote separation of church and state, and that the decision to post the motto was made without public input.

“They (Wentzville residents) understand government is not a church,” said Sally Hunt, a Maryland Heights resident. “Government should not advance religion.”

Hunt returned to speak before the council Wednesday after being escorted from the chambers last month by the mayor’s request.

“I didn’t appreciate the way she was being escorted out,” said Patrick Vining, a Wentzville resident. “I don’t think it was appropriate.”

Vining also expressed concern that the city sought legal input but not public input on the motto.

“What is legal is not always right,” he said.

No action regarding the motto was on the council’s agenda.

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Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com

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