Legal Threat Over 'In God We Trust' Decals Prompts Biting Letter From Florida Sheriff
A Florida sheriff has responded to a complaint by a Wisconsin organization asking for the removal of "In God We Trust" stickers from its department vehicles.
Walton County Sheriff Michael Adkinson told the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) that he is "unwilling to compromise" in their request to have the decals removed, TheBlaze reported.
"If the Freedom From Religion Foundation wishes us to take them off our vehicles I suggest that they get a Judge's order or a new Sheriff," Adkinson wrote to the FFRF in an Aug. 5 letter (photo shown below).
Last month, the FFRF told Adkinson that placing "In God We Trust" on county property is inappropriate and exclusionary.
"Citizens of Walton County trust their elected officials to attend to their elected secular duties," part of the letter reads. "Spending taxpayer time placing religious messages on patrol cars is beyond the scope of secular government."
The FFRF letter, written by co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor, also said the national motto "evidences no secular purpose."
In his response, Adkinson notes the history of the motto in Florida.
"You are obviously unaware that 'In God We Trust" is the state motto of the state of Florida, and has been since 1886," he wrote. "This was reaffirmed in 2006."
Pointing to Gaylor's note on tax-paying citizens, Adkinson said he personally wanted to pay for the stickers along with other officers, but a local company provided them free of charge.
"I will continue to dutifully enforce the law and protect the rights of all parties, regardless of my personal opinions, as I have for my last 23 years in law enforcement," Adkinson said.
The FFRF has not issued an official response to the letter, and co-president Dan Barker said he is unsure of the next steps.
"We can't predict what we'll do next," Barker said to TheBlaze. "Even if we wanted to sue we have to have a plaintiff there who's willing to sign on."
The letter sent to the Walton County Sheriff's Office was one of seven letters sent to other sheriffs' offices and police departments across the U.S. on July 29.
Here is the Sheriff's letter in full, via the Office of the Sheriff, Walton County: