A Florida sheriff is sticking to his beliefs and has no plans to remove the motto "In God We Trust" from patrol vehicles, despite a threat from atheists.
On Oct. 27, the Brevard County Sheriff's Office announced via Facebook that the department's patrol fleet would receive new patriotic graphic designs.
"While our vehicles will continue to include the iconic 'Shuttle' design in honor of our Space Center history, they will now also include new graphics of an American Flag and the phrase 'In God We Trust' that are both prominently displayed on each unit. To us there is no greater honor than to live in the greatest country in the world and serve as a law enforcement officer in Brevard County where our citizens love us, trust us and protect us just as much as we love, trust and protect them."
Despite the overwhelming support from citizens, an atheist group complained about the new motto saying it was "inappropriate and exclusionary," according to a statement.
Fox News reports that The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) referred to the "new" motto - which has actually appeared on US currency since 1864 - as "frightening and politically dubious."
But Sheriff Wayne Ivey argued that the suggestion to add the US national motto was offered by a citizen who is also a veteran. It was presented to other members of the community who approved of the idea.
"I personally believe that our country is at a tipping point, and if we, as strong patriotic Americans, don't stand for the principals of our great nation, we are going to lose the America we all know and love!"
Public Information Officer, Tod Goodyear told CBN News that the sheriff has no plans of removing the motto from county vehicles.
"Once he makes his mind up, he's not going to change it. He's not going to take something off the vehicles because a group disapproves of it. It would take the majority of our citizens and voters to respond for him to listen. If they disapproved, he would probably take it off," Goodyear said.
"The comments our office received were in favor of keeping the motto. He's not going to alter his beliefs," Goodyear added.
Sheriff Ivey said federal courts have held that "there is absolutely nothing wrong with" the usage of the "In God We Trust" motto "in this context," according to Florida Today.
Ivey went on to cite one court ruling "that the national motto 'In God We Trust' has nothing whatsoever to do with the establishment of religion. Its use is of a patriotic or ceremonial character, and bears no true resemblance to a governmental sponsorship of a religious exercise."
Conservative commentator and radio host Todd Starnes told CBN News that FFRF picked the wrong sheriff to threaten when it comes to the national motto and his patrol cars.
"There nothing illegal or criminal with what the sheriff did. 'In God We Trust' is the national motto and there are court cases backing up the right for national governments to place the motto on public property, as in patrol cars," he explained.
Starnes said that so-called "free-thinkers" like FFRF will get upset about these situations and make unjustified threats.
FFRF even threatened to sue Sheriff Ivey if he didn't remove the motto.
"I'm going to be very surprised if the FFRF advances their argument and complaint because it's a losing case for these guys," Starnes said.
"If you're a police officer putting your life on the line every single day in Brevard County, would you rather put your trust in God or in one of those so-called free-thinkers or atheists? I think the Sheriff's is going with God," he added.
Starnes explained that it's important for people to reach out to religious liberty law firms who will fight back against groups like FFRF.
"The war on religious liberty rages on and the FFRF is very aggressive and intentional. They go after smaller towns and communities, filing these complaints and lawsuits, knowing that they do not have the financial resources or they may not understand their rights under the Constitution," Starnes explained.