Residents angry, defiant after this small Kansas town orders ‘In God We Trust’ taken off police cars

There’s been a run on “In God We Trust” car decals this week in the Haven, Kansas area, in defiance of the city council’s vote Monday to remove the slogan from police cars.

“A lot of the community members that we ran into have put decals on their own cars that say ‘In God We Trust’,” says Laura Francis, chair of Kansas’ 1st Congressional District Republican Party.

Francis just happened to be speaking at the Reno County GOP meeting the night after the Haven council’s unanimous vote to take God off the city’s police cars. Francis had some choice words for the council – including noting that President Eisenhower approved the phrase as the official national motto in 1956. It was placed on U.S. currency the following year.

Francis also explained to the GOP gathering that the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause – “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” – “did not mean the severance of the state from God or the nation from Christianity.”

And she reminded the crowd of the amendment’s phrase that follows – which bars the government from prohibiting the free exercise of religion.

When asked if it supports a resolution opposing the council’s action, the unusually large crowd of 100-plus Republicans all stood Tuesday night, Francis said.

“They’ve told us that they’re fighting to have [the slogan] back,” she said. “They were vocal in our meeting about making sure that our national motto does not get removed from the public square in Haven.”

A similarly large and angry crowd is expected to demand a change at the council’s next meeting Monday night.

The Heartlander reached out to several city officials to ask if the council might reconsider its decision, but has not heard back. Haven is a town of just under 1,200 in south-central Kansas.

If the decision stands, Francis pointedly told the crowd of the urgency of citizen involvement in local government and local elections. She told The Heartlander she believes the council’s decision will play heavily into future elections in Haven.

“Voters need to be much more involved in who they elect for their city council boards,” Francis said, adding that people need to not only study the candidates but also work to recruit good ones.

Police Chief Stephen Schaffer told the media that the national motto was added to police cars only a few months ago after an officer suggested it. “So, I was like, ‘why not?’ We did it. It’s on our money. It’s our national motto. So I didn’t figure it would be a problem.”

Francis said police have been ordered to remove the “In God We Trust” decals on Sunday, prior to the Monday council meeting.

“I think a lot of community members will show up, and I think a lot of people outside of the community plan on attending,” she said.

As for the phrase being on U.S. currency, Francis asked of the city of Haven, “are they not going to accept our money over there now?”