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National Motto Stirring Up Controversy In North Carolina

Although it had been printed on U.S. coins since 1864, "In God We Trust" became the national motto of the United Stated when President Dwight D. Eisenhower established a law in 1956. Now, the motto is being displayed on government buildings across North Carolina. The U.S. Motto Action Committee, an organization who has been working to get the words placed on government centers throughout the state, paid for the displays. Union County Commissioner Richard Helms said, “It’s our national motto and it’s what our country stands for.” Helms added, “I think it’s represented by the faith we have in our country and in God.”

On the other hand, Nick Fish of American Atheists said, "These installations only serve to divide our communities...We want a government that gives no special treatment or recognition to any group on the basis of their belief, in, or lack of belief, in god." Chairman Helms said that when Union County commissioners held a public hearing on the placement of the display, nobody spoke up in favor or against the action. When they tried to place "In God We Trust" on government buildings in 2003, they were faced with a lawsuit. That is when Davidson County Commissioner Rick Lanier then formed the committee to fight for the right to place the country’s motto on government buildings. The committee has since placed the words on public buildings throughout the state.'

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