Mississippi Officially Adds “In God We Trust” To State Seal

Mississippi Seal

Mississippi officially added the phrase “In God We Trust” to the state seal with the passage of a Senate bill that came into effect on July 1st. Senate Bill 2681, also known as Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act, put into effect several laws that aim for any state action not to burden an individual’s right to the exercise of religion. The design of the seal was coordinated by the secretary of state and provided by an agency free of cost.

“These words should strengthen our resolve and give us the courage to stand for our principles in our state. I am very proud to see them added to our seal,” said Governor Phil Bryant.

The decision to have that phrase “In God We Trust” added to Mississippi’s state seal comes after a decision made by Mobile County Commission that approved the adding of a plaque bearing the national motto to Government Plaza. Citizens of Mississippi are concerned that the bill definitely protects the interests of Christians but not so much the interests of those who believe in other faiths or no faith at all.

Soon after the passage of the bill, protesters assembled in front of the governor’s house to express their concern while in Mobile, atheists are planning to propose a display of their own at Government Plaza. Additionally, national organizations have condemned the county’s decision to display the national motto in public buildings, saying the separation of church and state is being violated.

Meanwhile, Greenville County has also joined the movement of local administrations installing plaques bearing the national motto. According to nonprofit organization In God We Trust America, which urges local administrations to display the motto, 373 local administrations across 15 states have voted in favour of displaying the phrase “In God We Trust” but the American Civil Liberties Union is continuously debating whether the religious words belong in government buildings at all.

After Greenville’s County Council voted unanimously in June for the motto to be displayed inside council chambers, Victoria Middleton, executive director of ACLU, said she is unsure why the county would want to display a phrase that has the potential to make some citizens feel uncomfortable.

“Especially in a courthouse or council chambers, people should not be made to feel like outsiders in their own community because they don't share the dominant religious view,” Middleton said.

The phrase “In God We Trust” started to appear on American coins during the Civil War and was soon made the national motto by Congress in 1956. According to Jacquie Sullivan who founded In God We Trust America ten years ago, most Americans are in favour of the motto being displayed in public buildings, despite objections from some individuals.

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