In following the lead of Green County, Missouri sheriff, Jim Arnott, Doug Rader, the sheriff for neighboring Stone County, announced via social media that all patrol vehicles will display, “In God We Trust,” on their back bumpers. To his surprise, the recent decision has sparked a national debate, even though he is well within lawful and Constitutional parameters. As expected, anti-faith individuals and groups are crying out in a predictable response that this move violates the, “separation of church and state”—an increasingly tired assertion that belies the reality of our legislatively approved National Motto and the singular phrase found on all U.S. currency. The good news is that there have been over two million views, 50,000 supportive likes and 16,000 shares on the original Facebook post describing the action.
We want to help send Sheriff Rader the message that he does not stand alone, and furthermore, there are thousands of likeminded individuals who are right there with him! The Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation is building a growing, nationwide network that includes hundreds of legislators and thousands of citizens in order to mobilize tangible support in situations just like this one. Would you join with us and visit their Facebook page today? Post a “Like” along with a word of encouragement. Or consider contacting the Stone County Sheriff’s Department directly and let them know you appreciate Sheriff Rader’s bold commitment to religious liberty and principled faith.
Imagine if tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands, rallied together to make a statement while the eyes of the country are focused on a small Midwestern county. There is great power and a strong message that comes in unity of purpose—We will not yield our sacred rights! We will not compromise our moral and religious values! We will not be afraid or ashamed as people of faith! I urge you to stand up with Sheriff Rader!
In an interview, Rader stated, “In God We Trust” became our National Motto in 1956. There has been no better time than now to proudly display our national motto and I’m very humbled at the amount of support behind it.” These four words—In God We Trust—are also inscribed on the walls of the Capitol Visitors Center in Washington, D.C., in letters of gold behind the Speaker’s rostrum in the U.S. House of Representatives, in the offices of Members of Congress, and many other prominent places. From the writings of our Founders to the speeches of our Presidents, God is woven into the beautiful tapestry of our heritage. Whether during peace or in wartime, in prosperity or economic depression, in moments of national crisis or celebration, America has always trusted in God.
Three-and-a-half years ago, in November, 2011, the U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly (396-9) to reaffirm “In God We Trust” as the official motto of the United States. The landslide vote sends a message that “In God We Trust” is not only written in the halls of our federal buildings and on our national currency, but it represents a foundational cornerstone upon which our nation was built. H. Con. Resolution 13 encourages the overt display of our National Motto in in every public school classroom and government building.
The “separation of church and state” controversy comes from a letter penned by then President, Thomas Jefferson, on January 1, 1802, to the Danbury Baptist Association. Though it is frequently used by opponents to justify their attempts to advance legislative restrictions, Jefferson’s own actions challenge this long held assumption. The letter was a means to alleviate a concern that the federal government might infringe upon their religious rights. The true meaning and spirit of having a separation of church and state does not automatically imply the separation of God and government.
As Christians, we are called to be salt and light in the world (Matt. 5:13-16). Every effort to advocate for our religious freedom—no matter how small or seemingly insignificant—needs to be pursued, and not just by a few, but by the many who believe these principles are worth fighting for. They are worth a short email or letter of support and encouragement. They are worth our verbal affirmation and a willingness to be a voice in the midst of strong opposition. They are worth the time on our knees in petition before God. Thank you for, “letting your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”