Behold, ladies and gentlemen, the New Counterculture:
Law enforcement agencies in the South and Midwest are adding "In God We Trust" to their vehicles, drawing attacks from watchdog groups who argue that the move violates the separation of church and state.
Which, remember, is not in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, or any of the other seventeen Amendments. The First Amendment's Establishment Clause states thusly:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof....
The federal government, in short, is not permitted to designate a national religion nor prevent the free exercise of religion by the States and the people. State and local governments are not similarly constrained apart from whatever stipulations may be present in State constitutions. Consequently, sheriffs' departments are entirely free to put what is, after all, a non-sectarian motto on their patrol vehicles.
"If it's on my money and it's on the State flag, I can put it on a patrol car," Polk County (Georgia) Sheriff Johnny Moats told the New York Times. He wrote other sheriffs across the State urging them to put the motto on their vehicles.
'Twould be better if their motive for doing so was not so defensive, though:
Some officials say that displaying the motto expressed patriotism, while others contend that it seeks to counter the attacks law enforcement has taken in the wake of several high-profile shootings in recent months.
"With the dark cloud that law enforcement has been under recently, I think that we need to have a human persona on law enforcement," Sheriff Brian Duke of Henderson County, Tennessee, told the Times. "It gave us an opportunity to put something on our cars that said: 'We are you. We’re not the big, bad police.'"
First of all, local law enforcement is neither "big" nor "bad," not after the past year of the Black Klan's insurrectionary attacks. If anything, they're targets of the Black Klan's domestic terrorism, every last one of them. Second, in the wake of that vicious propaganda, how likely is it that a "patriotic" four-word slogan would change poisoned black minds? The latter would be far more likely to see it as a transparently phony PR ploy, would they not?
But, unsurprisingly, those aren't the attacks "In God We Trust" is drawing:
"This motto has nothing to do with the problem of police forces' shooting people, but it’s a great way to divert attention away from that and wrap yourself in a mantle of piety so that you’re above criticism," Annie Laurie Gaylor, a co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, told the Times.
See, I told you so.
Based in Madison, Wisconsin, the group has demanded that law enforcement officials refrain from exhibiting the adage.
"The idea of aligning the police force with God is kind of scary," Gaylor said. "That’s the first thing you'd expect to see in a theocracy."
Oh, my God, will you please shut up? Take a few month's sabbatical in Iran and learn what a REAL theocracy is. Then discover that they will never release you, and start contemplating your need for the help of people who still venerate that four-word "patriotic" phrase you loathe so much.
And that you have put yourselves forever beyond the reach of that assistance.
There could not be more deserving victims of theocracy, could there?
Exit motto: "In God We Trust".
And "in your faces".
UPDATE: Dr. Ben Carson didn't fail to recognize the opportunity:
The hashtag has gone viral.
Praise the LORD.
And I am happy to second that motion.