Activist seeks, granted permission to consider placement of 'in God we trust' plaque in Elk Grove City Hall

Gary Puryear, Sacramento. |

August 10, 2018 |

At the request of a public speaker, the Elk Grove City Council agreed to consider the placement of a plaque saying "In God We Trust" in the city council chambers. The request was made at the Wednesday, August 8 special city council meeting.

The request came during public comment by Gary Puryear who appeared on behalf of In his appeal, Puryear asked the city council to consider placement of an "In God we trust" plaque in the council chambers.

"Our mission is to promote patriotism by encouraging official to vote yes to legally display our congressionally approve national motto in God we trust in every city, county chamber, state capitol in America," Puryear said. "Will you vote yes to display our national motto?"

According to information on their website, the organization started in 2001. At that time a founder of the group, Jacquie Sullivan was offended when she heard a news report on a Christian radio station about protesters objecting to the use of the term on public buildings.

To counteract the protesters, Sullivan decided she would start a movement to have the term placed in every government building. Sullivan, who is a current member of the Bakersfield, California City Council and Kern County Republican Central Committee, earned her first victory that same year when Bakersfield became the first city in recent years to place the motto in city hall.

"This is an invitation to join the growing list of city and counties across American by promoting patriotism by voting yes to proudly and prominently display our national motto "in God we trust" in the chambers where the peoples business is conducted," Puryear stated.

Puryear also claimed that there are no government buildings in Sacramento County currently displaying the term and Elk Grove could become the first. He also said, "We urge you to place this issue on your next meeting agenda."

Following the comments, Council Member Steve Detrick asked city attorney Jonathan Hobbs about the legality of placing a plaque in the council chambers. Hobbs said he would research the matter noting "it is probably constitutional" and although other government entities have displayed the term, that does not necessarily mean it is legal, and it may not have yet faced a constitutional challenge. 

Later in the meeting, just before adjournment, Detrick ask for and received consensus from his fellow council members to place the matter on a future agenda. Hobbs said the earliest it could appear on a city council agenda would be the September 12, 2018 meeting. 

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