The words "In God We Trust" will soon be on the front of the Anderson County courthouse.
The Anderson County Commission approved the idea Tuesday night at their meeting on the condition that the county attorney and the operations committee find it legal.
People packed the meeting to share their opinions. Most of the people in the room were vocally and passionately supportive of the words being placed on the courthouse. It was standing room only and the debate lasted nearly two hours.
A group of about 50 pastors in Anderson County approached the county mayor with the idea. She brought it before the commission and endorsed it.
Commissioners voted 12 for it and four against.
Donations will pay for the work to post the words. Even commissioners have offered to pay for it.
"I believe so firmly in this. And actions speak louder than words. I'm willing to donate my equipment, my expertise to help put the sign up," said Commissioner Tim Isbel.
But not everyone agreed with the idea. A few people said it was an unnecessary influence of religion in government. Commissioner Whitey Hitchcock voted against it because he said his constituents asked him not to.
"I am in the district in Oak Ridge and we have Buddhists, we have Hindus, we have many people in the Unitarian Church and across the board. Many of them feel like and have stated that it's an intrusion of Christianity on their freedom of worship," said Commissioner Whitey Hitchcock.
The issue still has to go to the operations committee to review the legality.
The motto would be seen either above a main entrance door or on the sides of the building.
The law director said at the meeting he does not foresee any legal issues.
The phrase has been upheld by federal courts as not violating separation of church and state. It appears on money and at the United States Capitol Building.