A Christian small business owner in Texas has announced he will pay for the labor and materials to place "In God We Trust" decals on city vehicles, believing the project is a chance to not only share the Gospel, but unite the local community.
According to a report from ABC News, the city council of Forney, Texas voted unanimously Tuesday night in favor of a resolution that will add the famous motto to all city-owned vehicles. Jay Stinson, owner of Big Jay's Signs and Shirtworks, quickly volunteered to design and apply the decals free of charge.
"There are not many opportunities to give back to the city like this and I believed this was my chance to give back," he said. "I believe in the words of this motto. I believe that our country was founded on this motto and believe that this project will be a small step to unite our community and make people feel better about our police and fire entities."
Stinson, who will spend anywhere from $1,000 to $2,500 on the project, said he is still working on the final design of the decals, which will be placed on all police and fire vehicles.
The small business owner said he's received positive feedback from customers, and told local station KENS5 he's excited to get to work.
"This is a very religious town," he said. "Every block, there is a church. It's one of the reasons why we moved here. We love the atmosphere."
The gesture is expected to receive pushback from some groups, such as Freedom From Religion Foundation, who recently challenged a similar move in Childress, Texas. The organization has also sent dozens of letters to law-enforcement agencies in 15 mostly Southern states since July.
"It is inappropriate for the sheriff's office to display 'In God We Trust' on county property," foundational co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor wrote at the time. "The fact that these stickers were privately funded indicates that you know it is inappropriate for the government to fund religious statements."
Similarly, in 2013, the FFRF and 19 plaintiffs sued the Treasury Department, arguing that the motto's usage on public buildings and property breached the wall between church and state.
However, in November, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a legal opinion asserting that police cars with the motto aren't violating the Constitution's establishment clause, which prohibits the government from "establishing" a religion, notes KENS5.
"Displaying 'In God We Trust' on police vehicles is a passive use of a motto steeped in our nation's history that does not coerce citizen approval or participation," wrote Paxton, citing a 1984 Supreme Court ruling on city-sponsored Christmas displays that called the motto a constitutional reference to our religious heritage.