Across the country, there has been a recent trend of police departments adding “In God We Trust” stickers to their official vehicles. This has been hailed by many religious conservatives as a bold declaration of “Christian values,” and it has also opened up those departments to potential lawsuits from the ACLU and other organizations.
These proclamations of faith in the Christian god are distracting, unnecessary, and are in violation of the 1st Amendment.
Even though the argument is made that Christians, Jews and Muslims worship the same god – it is offensive to those of us who do not believe in a supernatural being, or those who believe that faith is a private matter that the government should not be involved in.
One of those departments was the Prescott, Wisconsin police who had added these stickers to their vehicles. Now, the city’s police chief has announced that the stickers must come off, by order of the city’s mayor.
Prescott Police Chief Gary Krutke announced on his personal Facebook page last month that he was asked to take the stickers off just days after they went up.
“Today I was told that I may have to remove these words from OUR squad cars because the BAD guys might be offended by these words ‘In God we trust,’” Krutke wrote in a Jan. 14 post on his public Facebook page.
Prescott Mayor Dave Hovel – Hovel is also a River Falls building inspector — said he was the one who asked Krutke to remove the stickers. (Source)
These stickers are little more than local politicians attempting to pander to the religious right in their districts. This trend extends across the country from Arkansas, to Louisiana, and other areas in the most conservative parts of the country.
If you are an officer who has sworn to protect and serve the residents of your jurisdiction, adding “In God We Trust” to your vehicle is a needless distraction from the job that you are doing. You are not an extension of your local church or religious beliefs, you are there to do your job – not proselytize to the public.
Proclaiming that you trust in a god or other spiritual beings is what you do in the confines of your home or local place of worship. These beliefs are not to be displayed on your uniform, or your vehicle. As an atheist, I don’t care whether you hold religious views, so long as you do the job you took an oath for, and take criminals off the street.