WYSH Radio/Oak Ridge Today
The Roane County Commission voted 13-1 on Monday to place the words “In God We Trust” at three locations in the Roane County Courthouse in Kingston. The signs will be similar to those placed above all four entrances at the Anderson County Courthouse last year and the one placed above the entrance to the Oak Ridge General Sessions Court building.
The Roane County proposal was made earlier this year, but commissioners initially balked at approving it until it made its way through the property committee.
The black granite signs will be placed above the north and south entrances to the Courthouse. A bronze plaque inscribed with “In God We Trust,” which is the national motto, will also be placed in the Commission meeting room, which also serves as a General Sessions courtroom. As in Anderson County, the signs will be paid for by private contributions.
The Roane County Commission first considered the signs in May, but in a split 8-7 vote then, commissioners sent the proposal to the property committee. It was approved 4-1 by the committee and sent back to the commission.
The effort has been led by Roane County Commissioner Randy Ellis, who said it reflects the will of Roane County residents. Commissioner Steve Kelley of Oak Ridge cast the lone vote against the proposal on Monday, expressing concerns about the separation of church and state, and protecting the religious freedoms of everyone.
The effort in Anderson County was inspired by a similar effort in Putnam County.