‘In God We Trust’ says Bishop City Council

By Charles James

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or free exercise thereof…”  The separation between church and state in the U.S. Constitution has proven a complex and contentious subject.

2015-1-26_In God We Trust-Bishop City Council

On Monday night, Jan. 26, four of five councilmembers voted to approve a “Motion for Resolution” to have the national motto, “In God We Trust,” displayed above the Bishop City Seal in the council chambers.

There was overwhelming support from those in the audience, comprised of mostly local clergy and church members− many were fellow churchgoers of the councilmembers voting “Yes.”

But not every council member was on board with voting “Yes.” Councilwoman Karen Schwartz voted “No,” telling fellow councilmembers, “I think we have a responsibility to all our resident to make our town seem inclusive and it (In God We Trust) seems like something that would exclude or divide the community rather than bring the community together.”

2015-1-26_In God We Trust- Public

Only one speaker spoke against the idea during public comment. Former City Councilman Keith Glidewell reminded the Council it had turned down a similar proposal a year ago, saying, “This is a publically, taxpayer-funded public forum where people of all faiths and non-faiths, nationalities, and ages come together to participate in public business.”

He went on to say “Your support alienates those of us that do not believe in a God. We feel different and apart; not a ‘part of the Club’” said Glidewell, noting that accomplishments, values and morality are not only to be found in religion or belief in a God.

Several local pastors spoke in favor of the motion, as did others.

The Council was asked, given the short notice, to give the public more time to weigh in on the issue, but the idea was rejected. Councilwoman Smith said that she heard the meeting announced repeatedly on a local radio station and that it was published in the Saturday Inyo Register newspaper. It was true that it was published in the local newspaper, but only two days before the meeting.

“And this be our motto: “In God is our trust,” is found in the National Anthem, adopted in 1931. “In God We Trust” has been on U.S. coins since 1864 and on currency since 1957. And “…one nation under God” was added to the National Pledge of Allegiance in 1954 in response to the Communist threat of the times.

On July 30, 1956, “In God We Trust” was designated as the national motto of the United States.

The use of the word “God” has faced several lawsuits over the past forty-five years and consistently lost. In 1970. The U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that the national motto “has nothing whatsoever to do with the establishment of religion. Its use is of patriotic or ceremonial character and bears no true resemblance to a governmental sponsorship of a religious exercise.”

In 2004, this one over the use of the word “God” in the Pledge of Allegiance, the Supreme Court ruled that these acts of “ceremonial deism” are “protected from Establishment Clause scrutiny chiefly because they have lost through rote repetition any significant religious content.”

Before the vote, City Attorney Ryan Jones informed Councilmembers prior to their vote, “There is no real legal issue under the Establishment Clause, but if changed in the future, we’ll have to deal with it then.”

If the City of Bishop approves the resolution at its next council meeting, it will join 110 municipalities and counties in California that have given approval to the national motto being displayed on or in a public building.



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17 Responses to ‘In God We Trust’ says Bishop City Council

  1. sugar magnolia February 2, 2015 at 2:29 pm #

    To be honest, it won’t effect my life one way or another if the words In God we trust’ are displayed in the council chambers or not.

    How about the City Council focus their time on worthwhile endeavors…..like addressing the skyrocketing rents in our town? Hmmm, let me guess, I wonder how many of our representatives benefit from skyrocketing rents or have close friends that benefit?

    In 2004, it was my understanding that LADWP declared it was ready to release some of their land east of the City of Bishop park. The City requested that LADWP delay that release while they did some preparation.

    11 years later, NOTHING has happened. It’s like the City staff and council are completely unaware of how bad the situation is here. What if, 9 years ago, the land was sold and the development and env. clearances had started? We might actually have a new residential area, perhaps mixed use. But either way, it would have created some badly needed supply.

    As it is, jobs and wages DO NOT SUPPORT the crazy rents in this town. $750 for a grungy studios, $900 for 1br apts., $1300 for small 2 br. houses. Greed for sure, but the worst part is that our elected officials and paid City staff fail to act on this devastating rental market when LADWP has stated they are willing to release this land.

    I’m sickened to see this waste of breath from apparently useless people. Shame on you City Council members!

    • Eastern Sierra Local February 4, 2015 at 7:56 am #

      Amen!! (No pun intended)- the current Economic Development Element for the City is open for public comment right now and curiously enough the city’s own statistics show that 60% of the housing stock in the City are rentals; while also the city municipal code exempts owners of rentals being required to have a business license!

  2. Ken Warner February 2, 2015 at 3:56 pm #

    Personally, I believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster. It would be more meaningful to me to see, “In FSM We Trust”


  3. Tinner February 2, 2015 at 5:23 pm #

    I think there is quite a bit (or maybe a ton) of arrogance that exists in non believers. I think they don’t believe because they believe THEY are the higher power, after all how can anybody be mightier than them?
    Good for the city of Bishop!!!!
    Dogs are proof that god exists, he named them after himself only spelling it backwards.
    And if you don’t love and appreciate dogs well there is not much that can be done for you…just sayin.

    • Really? February 3, 2015 at 10:10 am #

      That’s right! Clearly there is a monotheistic, Christian, English speaking God in heaven, because dog is God spelled backwards! Anyone who questions that is ignorant and arrogant and hates puppies.

  4. familygal February 2, 2015 at 7:26 pm #

    I love this! Way to go Bishop! 🙂

  5. Tapioca February 2, 2015 at 8:53 pm #

    “In God we trust” simply means “In good and love we trust”. How can this be anything other than a statement of harmony among all people? No harm comes from stating the value of universal kindness that most of us share, religious or otherwise. Thank you.

    • human February 6, 2015 at 1:39 pm #

      If “In God we trust” means “In good and love we trust” then why doesn’t the council put that on a sign above chambers? The fact that they haven’t is probably because God is NOT the same thing as good and love.

  6. Eastside Bum February 3, 2015 at 1:11 am #

    Nice to know that common sense prevailed in this decision.

  7. Trouble February 3, 2015 at 8:07 am #

    I hope the Bible is correct. I just don’t want out find for sure to soon.

  8. Steve February 3, 2015 at 8:51 am #

    This is the United States of America,

    We should not strive to all be the same.

    No group should lay claim to government institutions.

    The fact that anyone should try and claim it for their god is wrong.

    It is “for the people by the people” last time I checked not for the people by god.

  9. Local February 3, 2015 at 11:03 am #

    Love this!

  10. JaneE February 3, 2015 at 11:45 am #

    The first references to God came during the Civil War. The founders of this country would be appalled. They tried to give us a country where individuals could honor their own conscience without government control or direction. That includes pantheists and atheists as well as monotheists.

    What has changed in Bishop to make it desirable to embellish and add to the city’s civic symbols, besides than the desire of some citizens to show that they are more influential than others, and to thumb their nose at the constitution?

  11. Charles O. Jones February 3, 2015 at 2:49 pm #

    I don’t have a problem trusting God, it’s some of his followers I don’t trust.

  12. Steve February 4, 2015 at 7:17 am #

    I chose not to trust in “God”, I do trust in the constitution.

    We defend the second amendment to the point of death, ” You can have my gun when you pry it from my cold dead fingers”.

    The separation of church and state should be defended the same way.

  13. Desert Tortoise February 5, 2015 at 11:01 am #

    Read John Adams’ essay “A Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law” or James Madison’s speech to the Virginia Legislature titled “A Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments” and consider that our first six Presidents were not Christians, but Deists or Unitarians, and you may change you mind that this nation was founded for Christians by Christians. Keep in mind that the Inquisition still raged in Europe at the time our Constitution was written and the horrors occurring in Europe informed our nations founders. Find out what the Catherine Wheel was, and I am not referring to the firework or the band that use that name. Opposition to all things European, including the religions of Europe, was very strong and our founders tried to design a form of government that could not be held hostage by a religion.

  14. Local February 5, 2015 at 4:32 pm #

    Seems like a lot of you could use a little God in your life.


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