Roane Co. commissioner disputes putting "In God We Trust" on cou

Roane Co. commissioner disputes putting "In God We Trust" on courthouse

Posted:
A proposal to put the phrase "In God We Trust" on the Roane County courthouse is moving forward but not without a fight from one county commissioner. A proposal to put the phrase "In God We Trust" on the Roane County courthouse is moving forward but not without a fight from one county commissioner.
“I don’t have any problem with religion, religion is fine, it serves an important role in our society but not everybody has to have a belief," explained Keller. “I don’t have any problem with religion, religion is fine, it serves an important role in our society but not everybody has to have a belief," explained Keller.
By ALEXIS ZOTOS
6 News Reporter

KINGSTON (WATE) - A proposal to put the phrase "In God We Trust" on the Roane County courthouse is moving forward but not without a fight from one county commissioner.

Roane County Commissioner Steve Keller says he’s been an atheist since he was a teen.

“It means I don’t believe in God,” explained Keller. “I don’t have any problem with religion, religion is fine, it serves an important role in our society but not everybody has to have a belief.”

Commissioner Randy Ellis sponsored the resolution, and it went before the property committee last week. Kelley was the lone no vote.

Previous Story: Roane County commissioner wants 'In God We Trust' on the courthouse

“It kind of diminishes my citizenship,” said Kelley.

The battle to put the phrase on courthouses has been fought recently in surrounding counties including Morgan and Anderson, but Kelley says he's concerned over the possibility of lawsuits for the county.

“Just because other people have done it doesn’t make it right ,” he said.

We brought the concern to the county law director

“In God We Trust is our national motto, it’s on our currency, it’s in municipal buildings all over the nation, we can’t pass laws that establish a religion but we can pass laws in the name of patriotism,” explained Roane County law director Tom McFarland

Residents we spoke to were in support of the sign.

“That's what our country was founded on and I don’t see anything wrong with it,” said Roane County resident Eric Masco.

Resident Lacy Silvey said there is a large Christian community in Roane County and feels like it’s a good idea.

“I’m all for it, you’re going to offend someone by not putting it up and you’re going to offend someone by putting it up,” she said.

But Kelley says people opposed to the sign are less likely to speak out because of the Christian majority in the county, that’s why he says he feels like he needs to raise the question on whether the phrase has a place on a government building.

“It’s very easy to say oh we can do this it won’t hurt anybody because you don’t know what it’s like to be in that other person's position,” Kelley said.

Commissioner Randy Ellis sponsored the resolution and says no tax dollars will be used to pay for the sign, it will all be done through donations. It will go for a vote before the full commission at their July 14 meeting.

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