It appears on U.S. currency. Now, it could be on Santa Rosa County’s seal.
“In God We Trust” has been the national motto of the U.S. since 1956, and it is the motto of the state of Florida as well, adopted in 2006.
Citing a nation in unrest, County Commissioner Sam Parker submitted the phrase be adopted as the county’s motto as well. He also suggested adding it to the county’s seal.
Parker explained he was prompted to put forward the idea due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the first global pandemic in his lifetime, and the growing civil unrest due to death of George Floyd, resulting in calls for defunding of police departments.
Parker, a former law enforcement officer, said he believes “In God We Trust” is a symbol of unity.
“Our nation needs a message of unity and a message of hope, and this is something that leaders have recognized since 1956 when this was made our national motto,” he said. “I hope this could be a step in the direction of unity and healing for our country.”
In an email to County Administrator Dan Schebler July 16, Parker requested the issue be added to the commission agenda for July 23. That request includes adding the motto to roughly 300 county vehicles and all county buildings. The email says Signcrafters in Pace has offered to donate the vinyl lettering for the county vehicles.
When asked about constituents who may identify as atheist or not affiliated with a Judeo-Christian faith, Parker acknowledge that the motto may not be popular with everyone, but he said he believes it is an important message.
“I would hope that this is a message that all citizens can unify behind, but I am keenly aware that it is impossible to do anything in my position that will be favored by everyone,” he said. “My core values and beliefs stem from my faith, and my faith in Christ is what gets me through dark times.”
He encouraged every citizen to reach out to their commissioners with their feelings on the matter ahead of the commission meeting July 23. That meeting will be at 9 a.m. in the boardroom at 6495 Caroline Street in Milton. Seating will be limited due to COVID-19. Citizens may submit comments via the online public comment form at SantaRosa.FL.gov.