Karate black-belter fights for God motto
Pennsylvanian councilwoman Sue Means, above, an evangelical Christian with a black belt in karate, wants an ‘In God We Trust’ plaque in her local courthouse. Not everyone agrees.
Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, according to this report, told county council members that he would exercise his veto power if the board passed legislation to post the motto in the courthouse.
Sue Means, a Bethel Park Republican, has driven the push for the national motto to be displayed in the Gold Room of the courthouse, where council conducts its twice-monthly meetings. Means, who says she is an evangelical Christian, wants to see “In God We Trust” installed above a replica of the Bill of Rights.
It’s our national motto. It’s patriotism. It’s history.
Councilman Ed Kress, a co-sponsor on the bill and a Shaler Republican, last month proposed an amendment that would limit the plaque to three square feet and would include the phrase “e pluribus unum” and the Pennsylvania motto, “Virtue, liberty and independence.”
All we are doing is honoring our state motto and our national motto.
Means said she believes her proposal will pass tonight and will have at least the ten votes necessary to withstand a veto.
Support and passage of [the proposed legislation] tells our residents and visitors that if they are Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Atheist, Muslim, Islamic or any other non-theistic group, they are not welcomed here. We are disrespecting other religions and beliefs by promoting one above all others. If this legislation were to pass, we are telling everyone that our motto is that not all are welcome here.
Fitzgerald, in his email, also expressed concern about legal action against the county stemming from the decision to place the motto in a prominent spot in the courthouse.
Means said she has letters from two legal organizations promising to defend county officials pro bono if a challenge is raised.