(WBIR- Roane County) The words "In God We Trust" first appeared on our money and now it is appearing on government buildings throughout the Volunteer State.
The Roane County courthouse will be the latest to feature the national motto and the decision did not come without controversy.
Commissioners said the words will be placed over two courthouse entrances as well as in the commission room. It will appear in black granite markers measuring five feet long and eight inches high.
"A lot of churches, church leaders, and pastors have come to me asking if I could help implement the national motto and put it on our courthouse. I introduced the resolution in the May commission meeting," said Randy Ellis, Roane County commissioner.
Commissioners said the markers will be very similar to the ones placed over the entrances of the Anderson County courthouse. Anderson County commissioners voted to add the motto last summer and the state legislature passed a law earlier this year to add the motto to the state capitol.
Roane County commissioners said they first considered the resolution in May but referred it to the property committee in an 8-7 decision.
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"The property committee passed it 4-1," Commissioner Ellis said. "It came back for the full commission for their recommendation for it to proceed."
The effort by passed by the commission 13-1. Commissioner Steve Kelley was the only one to vote against it.
"If the Christian community, whether they be Baptist, Presbyterian or whatever. If they want their religious freedoms protected, then that means everybody's religious freedoms have to be protected," he said. "You can't let the government choose one side over the other."
Commissioner Ellis, who was the mind behind the effort, said the vote reflects the will of Roane County residents. Commissioner Kelley disagrees.
"I know there are others in this county that feel the way I do," Commissioner Kelley said. "Their wishes aren't being considered. Their concerns aren't being considered."
Commissioners are now asking the community to help pay for the project. They hope to raise $4,300.
"It's kind of like the old saying, 'It's time to put your money where your mouth is'. Now it's time for private citizens and a lot of churches to step forward and make donations to make this happen," Ellis said.
Commissioner Ellis said those wanting to contribute can contact him at 865-335-7981. He said he hopes to see the words on the Courthouse within the next couple of months once all of the funds are raised.