Pastor wants ‘In God We Trust’ on courthouse

Pastor wants 'In God We Trust' on courthouse (Image 1)

You don't have to look very far around the town square in Cookeville to see how some people feel about religion.

It might not be long before these displays of religion are stamped on a public building.

“We need to stand up for those principles that have governed our country for over 200 years,” said Al Gaspard.

Gaspard is the pastor of the Colonial View Baptist Church in Cookeville.

Gaspard wants to see the phrase “In God We Trust” added to all four sides of the Putnam County Courthouse.

“Everybody is trying to get God out of the school, out of everywhere,” explained Gaspard. “So it just stuck with me and I said you know maybe it'd be good if I tried to do something with it.”

For the past three months, Gaspard told Nashville's News 2 he's worked with members of his congregation and the community to get the word out.

Residents can buy “In God We Trust” signs at some of the local businesses.

Gaspard hopes to raise enough money to pay for the added signage, should the county commission approve it.

Putnam County attorney Jeffrey Jones said in his opinion, putting “In God We Trust” on public buildings is constitutional.

“In November 2011, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a non-binding resolution reaffirming 'In God We Trust' as the official national motto of the United States,” said Jones. “That non-binding resolution, which passed the House on a 396-9 vote, also supports and encourages the phrase publicly in all public buildings, public schools and government institutions.”

Jones added the issue was argued in front of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the judges held it was constitutional

“In God We Trust” has been the official national motto since 1956 and is printed on our money.

“I'm all for it, it's on our money,” said John Boch, who lives in Cookeville, “It's the basis and foundation of our country. We need to return back to what our country was founded on.”

However, not everyone is excited about the idea.

“I am a Christian,” said Anita Farley, who lives in the area. “I believe in God and believe in Jesus Christ. I also believe the United States of America was founded on the principle of freedom of religion and separation of church and state. This is state. I really don't think it has a place there.”

Gaspard told Nashville's News 2 he doesn't know what the design will be or how much it will cost, but he's hopeful the idea will become reality.

The Putnam County Commission votes on this issue Monday at 6 p.m.

The meeting will be at the courthouse in Cookeville.

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