ROGERSVILLE - Hawkins County Commissioners will consider a resolution later this month that would require all county buildings including offices and schools to post the country's national motto "In God We Trust" in a prominent location.
Commissioner B.D. Cradic who sponsored the resolution said his goal is for private citizens and businesses to sponsor the purchase of plaques stating "In God We Trust" so that they can be placed in all county buildings at no cost to the taxpayers.
Shortly after the Hawkins County Justice Center opened in 2010 there was a similar fundraising effort to pay for the placement of “Historical Documents” including the Ten Commandments on the walls of the Justice Center lobby.
Any time there is a movement to place religious material in a government facility, there is always a bit of uneasiness due to the potential for a federal "Separation of Church and State" lawsuit.
Cradic noted, however that 23 Tennessee counties have already passed a similar resolution.
In 1956 Congress adopted "In God We Trust" as the national motto.
Subsequently the Federal 5th, 9th, and 10th Circuit Courts have ruled that displaying the national motto is Constitutional as long as its purpose is to advance or endorse the national motto rather than a particular religious belief or practice.
"I think we should go ahead and fulfill the resolution and the Constitution, what it says, and respect what it says and what it means," Cradic said.
No county buildings currently have an "In God We Trust" plaque.
The resolution states it is "requiring the display in all public buildings, offices, schools including classrooms, and other areas where the public and/or students may gather - to help promote awareness of, respect of, and in celebration of our national motto 'In God We Trust'."
Cradic said he was asked by a Hawkins County woman to revisit the "In God We Trust" issue.
"The late (Commissioner) Virgil Mallett had a resolution similar to this, but it never did get anywhere," Cradic said. "It passed, but nothing was ever done about it. She sent me this, and I think 23 counties have already got this in place. I think it's time that Hawkins County put this in place also for the schools, and public building, government building."
The Hawkins County Commission will consider Cradic's resolution when it meets in regular session Monday, March 27 at 7 p.m. at the Hawkins County Courthouse.