LEXINGTON, N.C. Davidson County has hired a law firm to fight a lawsuit seeking to remove the U.S. motto, "In God We Trust," from the front of the county government building.
The county commissioners said on Aug. 12 they had decided in a closed-door meeting last month to battle the case in court. Hundreds of people had attended the commission's regular meeting to support the motto. The announcement was welcomed with applause and shouts of "Amen."
"I do not think you'll be ashamed of the decision you made to fight this lawsuit," Jason Grubb, a local resident, told the commission.
The motto was installed on the Governmental Center in December after it was approved by commissioners on a 4-2 vote.
The U.S. Motto Action Committee, a group organized to support the motto on government buildings, said it had collected 15,000 signatures of support on petitions since the lawsuit was filed.
Thomasville attorneys Charles Lambeth and Michael Lea sued the county on June 24 in federal court, arguing the motto constitutes a religious statement by Davidson County government and violates the First Amendment.
Lambeth presented a compromise to commissioners last week that would remove the motto from the front of the building but add it and other historical items to a display inside the government center.
Several speakers urged the board on Aug. 12 not to accept the compromise.
"If it is unconstitutional on the front of the building, it's unconstitutional within the building," said Roger Wiles, a Lexington attorney and pastor.