With a unanimous vote on Thursday (May 11), Fresno became the largest city in California to decide to have the national motto, “In God We Trust,” displayed in its council chamber.
The resolution, which was passed with a 6-0 vote without a vote from Councilman Oliver Baines who was absent, includes a requirement that the display be funded privately, not using any taxpayer money.
The push to pass the resolution was spearheaded by Councilman Garry Bredefeld of District 6.
“We’re clearly a nation that was founded on faith,” Bredefeld wrote in an op-ed article posted on the Fresno Bee.
“‘In God We Trust’ does not choose one religion over another. It simply and eloquently reminds us that those of us who believe in God should trust in Him to guide us as we make important decisions for all citizens of Fresno. Those who don’t believe have the freedom to interpret the national motto as they wish, or merely disregard it,” he wrote.
According to Bredefeld, seven other cities in Fresno County, and 648 cities in the U.S. display the national motto in their council chambers.
The Fresno Bee reports that the day of the vote was met with crowds of several hundred supporters and opponents of the resolution. Many supporters wore t-shirts with the motto printed on them, the report notes.
However, one opponent voiced the concern that the resolution was not inclusive of people of other faiths or no faith.
“You think this is going to be inclusive? You think this is patriotism? Not for non-believers, not for atheists, and not for those who are free thinkers,” Juan Avita was quoted as saying by ABC 30.