WHITEHOUSE — Whitehouse and Troup will be among the latest entities to display the words “In God We Trust” at their public meetings.
City Council members in both towns voted in support of displaying the phrase Tuesday during regular meetings. The phrase will be displayed in the Whitehouse council chambers in a prominent location above the city seal, officials said. In Troup, the phrase will be displayed at City Hall and during Troup City Council meetings.
The measure unanimously was approved in Whitehouse and Troup, and no one spoke against it.
Troup City Administrator Jed Dillingham said after Tuesday’s meeting that, “Everyone seemed to be in favor of God and country.”
Whitehouse City Manager Mike Peterson has said displaying the motto is something other cities are doing, and Whitehouse wanted to consider getting on board.
“There’s a movement to have it in public meetings and in courtrooms and council chambers as a reminder,” Peterson said Monday. “The Founding Fathers, I think that that was their vision for the country, and (the motto) is a reminder that that should be our focus, too.”
Dillingham said Troup is a patriotic community with a strong spiritual heritage, so displaying the motto is appropriate and in keeping with both aspects.
Lisa Graybill, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, said Monday she did not agree with the cities’ reasoning for displaying the phrase.
The Founding Fathers were religious, she said Monday, but they also had a deep appreciation for the separation of church and state, which exists to protect the church as much as the state.
Whitehouse and Troup are not the first East Texas entities to adopt the motto.
As of July, more than 200 governmental entities in eight states, including 85 in California, had adopted the motto as part of a national campaign by In God We Trust America to get the motto placed within every local government chamber.
Whitehouse officials said the city will put the phrase up as soon as it can and may consider seeing if churches would want to donate to the initiative.
Dillingham said the city of Troup will start looking into its options today.
Staff writer Adam Russell contributed to this report.