A Missouri sheriff made an announcement on Facebook this week that all of his office’s police patrol cars have now been adorned with the words, “In God We Trust” — and atheist activists are anything but happy about it.
Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader, who serves in Galena, Missouri, shared photos of the vehicles that now include the national motto, proclaiming that this is the perfect time to be displaying that message.
“I am proud to announce that all of the Stone County Sheriff’s Office Patrol vehicles now have ‘In God we trust’ on the back,” Rader wrote. “This became our National Motto in 1956 and is on all of our currency. There has been no better time than now to proudly display our National Motto!”
The sheriff’s office also caught the attention of atheists for displaying a derivative of Romans 13:3-4 from the Bible on its official website, BizPac Review reported.
“For the ‘policeman’ does not frighten people who are doing right; but those who doing evil will always fear him. So if you do not want to be afraid, keep the laws and you will get along well,” it reads. “The ‘policeman’ is sent by God to help you. But if you are doing something wrong, of course you should be afraid, for he will have you punished. He is sent by God for that very purpose.”
The actual biblical text reads:
“For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.”
These religious elements led Friendly Atheist blogger Hemant Mehta to pen a post wondering whether the sheriff’s office is “more committed to following the Bible or the Constitution,” as he also questioned what the religious climate is like in the community.
In a separate message posted on the sheriff office’s website, Rader said that he is ”concerned with the tone of the Obama administration with respect to the Second Amendment rights of American citizens,” and passionately defended the Constitution.
Mehta wrote that there is “probably … no legal recourse” for atheists over the “In God We Trust” being placed on the vehicles, as he believes that the courts no longer view the sentiment as exclusively Christian in nature.