Group asks sheriff to remove decals
Epperly: 'I'm not doing that'
Just a few weeks after the Barry County Sheriff's Office and others across the state of Missouri affixed 'In God We Trust' decals to their vehicles, the Freedom From Religion Foundation asked sheriffs to remove them.
In response to the Missouri Sheriff's Association's unanimous decision to put the decals on every sheriff's office vehicle, the group offered to send the association 'In Reason We Trust' decals to post alongside 'In God We Trust.'
Barry County Sheriff Mick Epperly disagrees with the foundation's view and will not be removing the decals, he said. According to Epperly, someone from the foundation made a comment on their webpage protesting the decals, which spurred the controversy in Barry County.
"That is our constitutional right to put that on there, and it is our national motto," he said. "They wanted us to put a different motto, and I'm not doing that."
"Statements about a god have no place on government-owned property," said Laurie Gaylor Foundation co-president. "Hundreds of thousands of Missourians do not believe in a monotheistic god or any gods, and posting 'In God We Trust' on patrol cars unequivocally signals bias against nonbelievers."
The foundation, which is based in Madison, Wis., and has 23,000 members nationwide, has sent over 27 letters to sheriff's offices, police departments and city governments in Missouri protesting the decals. The non-profit group identifies itself as an association of free thinkers, including atheistic and agnostics, which strives to separate religion from government.