Fresno City Councilmember Garry Bredefeld has proposed that “In God We Trust” be posted behind the dais in council chambers. We write to express our concern about this proposal and urge the council to remember the rich diversity of our community. It is incumbent on our elected officials to represent all of Fresno’s citizens.
Although Bredefeld notes that this proposition is about “reaffirming our faith” and “faith in God” as well as that the motto “does not pertain to any one religion,” he has proposed the language of Christianity, not Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism or Islam. As such, he makes Christianity the default faith of our Valley.
He also presumes that all of our community and his constituents share a religious framework for making meaning in this world; this is not true. If a reminder is needed for mindful actions, Thomas Jefferson’s call for the “separation of Church and State” might prove useful.
We do applaud his desire to “make good decisions.” Perhaps the first should be to expend time, energy, and resources of the council on the many pressing problems of our community: poverty, homelessness, infrastructure and equal access to opportunity.
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Board of Trustees, Unitarian Universalist Church of Fresno