'God' Motto Not Catching On In Valley

December 17, 2008

Author: Chris Collins

Source: The Fresno Bee


Dozens of California cities in recent years have embraced a growing trend to display the words "In God We Trust" in city hall. The movement, spearheaded by a Bakersfield council member, is touted as a way to promote patriotism and preserve traditional values.

But in the conservative central San Joaquin Valley, the idea has caught the attention of only a handful of small towns.

In some of the area's largest cities -- Fresno, Clovis and Madera -- there seems to be little interest in displaying the nation's motto. Some officials say that mixing God and government would exclude many residents.

Clovis Council Member Nathan Magsig pitched the idea to the council last year.

"It didn't go anywhere," he said.

In some Valley cities, leaders have eagerly adopted resolutions to display the motto. In the last few months, the Selma and Lemoore city councils voted unanimously to display "In God We Trust" in their council chambers. Porterville and Kerman did so long ago.

Bakersfield Council Member Jacquie Sullivan and her nonprofit organization, In God We Trust -- America, have been lobbying cities to display the motto for years and so far have convinced nearly 50 to do so.

The effort, which Sullivan says is the only one of its kind in the country, has drawn coverage by national news media and is gaining steam. This year alone, 19 cities -- mostly in Southern California -- voted to display the motto.

In recent months, Sullivan says, she has focused her efforts on cities in Fresno County and the surrounding area.

Some cities such as Fresno haven't taken up the issue, and others have rejected it outright.

See also: Civic