An outgoing California mayor is standing behind the addition of “In God We Trust” decals to the city’s police cars, calling it one of the council’s biggest accomplishments of the year.
The Delano (Calif.) City Council voted 3-1 in April to add the stickers to the city’s patrol cars. In June, Bakersfield’s City Council followed Delano’s lead and voted 4-2 to add “In God We Trust” stickers to its police and fire vehicles. Both cities are located within Kern County, Calif.
“Delano has a strong faith-based background and I admire the show of support to place the ‘In God we trust’ motto on our Delano Police vehicles this year with the support of our community,” Delano Mayor Joe Aguirre told The Record newspaper this month. “We have so much to be proud of and so much to get done ... and with the grace of God, we will get it done.”
The decals are paid for by private donations.
Several county pastors were behind the movement.
“We think this will set a precedent that will hopefully catch on in other cities. We want every city in our county to follow Delano’s lead,” David Vivas, a pastor with World Harvest International Church, said earlier this year. “This sends a strong statement to the community.”
The decals are constitutional, Vivas said. “In God We Trust” is the national motto.
“As a patriotic American, I believe it is appropriate to have these decals placed on police vehicles,” he said, according to The Record. “This is not an endorsement of any religion nor does it violate the establishment clause of the First Amendment. This does not infringe upon a person’s right who chooses not to believe in God.”
The decals include a postcard-sized United States flag, with “In God We Trust” underneath.
Bakersfield City Councilwoman Jacquie Sullivan told Bakersfield.com the stickers have symbolic meaning. She supported their addition.
“We have people that love God and love country and know how important this type of thing is to the long-term success of our country,” she said.
Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog, MichaelFoust.com.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Alexandarilich
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, The Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.