The Dodge County Board of Supervisors is considering putting the national motto, “In God We Trust,” on its courtroom walls.
The board heard a presentation at its Wednesday meeting from Barb Otto, of “In God We Trust America,” asking the board to consider doing so. Otto, a Holt County native and a volunteer for the group, has presented the idea to 52 different counties across the state.
“I remind people that government meetings start with the Pledge of Allegiance and the phrase ‘one nation under God.’ I have been to counties that say a prayer before their meeting,” Otto told the board. “If they’re other than a Christian religion, it’s fine, it’s good, we’re not asking anybody to change anything or be different. It’s just, this is our national motto.”
She provided Dodge County Attorney Oliver Glass with a letter from the Pacific Justice Law Firm promising to represent the county pro bono should it face any legal challenge if it decides to go through with it.
“There have not been any challenges as far as I know,” Otto said. “The national motto on a courthouse wall stands on firm legal ground.”
“In God We Trust” was first put on U.S. currency in the 1860s and was adopted as the National Motto in 1956.
Otto didn’t give an exact number, but said that most of the counties she’s visited have followed through with the idea.
“I was kind of excited this year, because Florida, Tennessee and Wymoing had legislation passed to put In God We Trust prominently displayed on their schools, all their public schools,” Otto said. “I think maybe it’s kind of catching on a little bit more here because we’ve seen confederate statues being taken down or history changed in that way, you can’t have the ten commandments, no praying in schools—these sort of things. There’s maybe just some people that are just saying ‘maybe, maybe not.’ I guess I’m one of them.”
Board chair Bob Missel said that the board would consider the proposal and gauge community reaction.
“I guess what I’d suggest maybe is to allow this information to be out there and give the board a little opportunity to think about it and then if we want to bring it back as an agenda item and adopt a resolution, we can do so,” he said.
Supervisor Lon Strand agreed.
“I think we need to talk to people and see what they think,” he said.
Missel told the Tribune after the meeting that his instinct was that the county would “probably do it.”
In other news from Wednesday’s meeting:
- The Dodge County Board announced it had approached a consultant with expertise on jails who could eventually work with the county as it discusses future jail issues. At the committee level, for instance, the county is discussing the possibility of creating a joint law enforcement center with the city of Fremont. Those talks could have implications for jails. “Would it be out of line to consider building a jail for Dodge County?” Missel told the Tribune. “I think it’s something that will be a discussion topic at a minimum.”
- The board agreed to sign off on four agreements with Speece Lewis Engineers relating to bridge construction projects.