By Jesse Wood
After the Watauga County Courthouse closed to the public on Tuesday afternoon, a worker was installing the “In God We Trust” sign above building’s entrance.
This comes a few months after the Watauga County Board of Commissioners accepted a proposal by the U.S. Motto Action Committee, which agreed to pay for all of the installation costs of putting “In God We Trust” lettering on the Watauga County Courthouse and/or the Watauga County Administration Building.
The vote was 4-1 with Commissioner Billy Kennedy, a Democrat, as the lone dissenter.
“We need to be careful injecting God into our government,” Kennedy said at a meeting in May.
The other commissioners didn’t feel that way. Chair Jimmy Hodges, a Republican, noted that his constituents would overwhelmingly support this motto on the county building.
“I would also like to go on record as being, hopefully, one of the first to make a contribution for this cause,” Hodges said.
The U.S. Motto Action Committee Vice Chair Rick Lanier made the request before the commissioners and said that he was travelling across the state at the time trying to get other county governments or municipalities to agree to the lettering. At the time, he said 25 other counties and 14 other municipalities had agreed to displaying the “In God We Trust” motto.Lanier said that the motto is a “proud source of strength and guidance to many generations of Americans” and even provided a statement of endorsement from Franklin Graham, the Christian evangelist and CEO of Samaritan’s Purse:
“I strongly support and endorse Watauga County’s efforts to include ‘In God We Trust’ on the courthouse. This will be a reminder for everyone who walks through those doors that we as a people and nation should place our faith and trust in God.”
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