Ruling Keeps "In God We Trust" on Davidson County Building

Special Report - June 1, 2004

U.S. District Court Judge William L. Osteen has dismissed a lawsuit that sought to remove the words “In God We Trust” from the County Government Center in Davidson County, North Carolina. Two Thomasville lawyers, Charles Lambeth and Michael Lea, originally filed the lawsuit in June 2003. Even though “In God We Trust” has been the national motto since 1956, the lawyers argued that putting the phrase on a public building constituted a religious statement and violated the establishment clause of the First Amendment. Judge Osteen disagreed in his ruling, saying the display did not violate the separation between church and state or endorse one particular religion over another. In addition, Judge Osteen said that secular as well as religious reasons were behind posting the motto. Lambeth and Lea say they plan to appeal the case to a higher court. The Davidson County Board of Commissioners originally approved adding the motto in a 4-2 decision in November 2002. The phrase is printed on an 18-inch block letter sign and was entirely funded through private donations.

Copyright © 2004. North Carolina Family Policy Council. All rights reserved.