CLINTON, Tenn. (AP) — A move to place the motto “In God We Trust” on the Anderson County Courthouse has won final approval.
The Oak Ridger reported 14 of the 16 Anderson County Commission members voted Monday to place the national motto over the doors of the courthouse in Clinton. Two commissioners abstained.
Approval came at a third meeting at which the issue was discussed.
Commissioner Jerry Creasy tried to amend the motion to include well-known slogans be placed above three courthouse entrances and “In God We Trust” be placed about the fourth one, but it died for lack of a second.
The Knoxville News Sentinel reported a local businessman and a group of ministers had advanced the idea.
Commissioners initially voted 12-4 in February to put up the slogan
Anderson County officials Wednesday were continuing to ponder the consequences of an emotional 12-4 vote Tuesday night to put the country’s motto, ‘In God We Trust,” on the exterior of the courthouse, according to the News Sentinel.
The executive director of the Tennessee chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, meanwhile, criticized the move.
“People of all faiths, as well as non-believers, should feel welcome in their government buildings,” ACLU official Hedy Weinberg said in a statement.
“The County Commission should focus on doing real work that represents the interests of all residents, not sowing the seeds of religious divisiveness in the community by challenging the fundamental founding principle that government must remain neutral when it comes to matters of faith,” Weinberg wrote.
Commissioners, after hearing impassioned arguments from a standing-room-only audience, voted to proceed with the proposal but asked the law director and the panel’s operations committee to look into possible legal roadblocks and liability issues.
Robin Biloski, committee chair, was one of four Oak Ridge commissioners that voted against the measure. She said the committee is scheduled to meet March 11. “This was such a quick vote,” she said of Tuesday’s decision. “Will we have people to come (to the operations committee) to voice their opinion on the direction we’re going?”
Biloski said the full commission “didn’t follow the rules,” which normally require such proposals to go before committee before advancing to the full 16-member panel. “We’re jumping into something not knowing the ramifications, the liability,” she said.
From the Chattanooga TFP: The freshman 4th District congressman told Nashville conservative talk show host Ralph Bristol on Friday that he doesn’t intend to resign and will seek re-election in 2014.
DesJarlais said he believes in “grace and redemption,” adding, “I think God gave me a second chance.”
“And I think unless some people see some sort of political advantage to grace and redemption … they don’t want to practice it on their own,” the congressman continued.
“I don’t know what the reason is behind that, but I know God’s forgiven me. … I simply ask my fellow Christians and constituents to consider doing the same for me.”
…DesJarlais, who portrayed himself during his re-election campaign as a “consistent supporter of pro-life values,” denied that he misled 4th District voters in October in the days leading up to the Nov. 6 election.
“I don’t think, Ralph, that I implied that there was nothing in my past,” DesJarlais said Friday.
From The Tennessean: Rep. Scott DesJarlais may have acknowledged he is “human” and used “very poor judgment,” but image consultants and congressional experts say that falls way short of what’s needed to repair a political persona as damaged as any they have ever seen.
And while some are willing to advise the Jasper Republican about dealing with revelations about his past sexual relationships, many more continue to be brutal in their assessment of his character and his fitness to remain in public life.
A typical response comes from William Galston, a Brookings Institution scholar who deals with the intersection of religion and politics. He says DesJarlais’ image is beyond rehabilitation.
“This man (appears to) be the most morally corrupt and unworthy member of the entire United States House of Representatives. His conduct is not only morally reprehensible, it is hypocritical,” Galston said.
God, guns, gays and money are scheduled debate topics for the 107th Tennessee General Assembly in its windup week.
Enactment of a state budget for the coming fiscal year, a duty formally assigned to the Legislature by the Tennessee constitution, is clearly the most substantive issue remaining as legislative leaders push to adjourn the session by Friday.
The $31 billion budget plan submitted by Gov. Bill Haslam is generating some disputes. The general theme of Democratic critics is that Republican plans unnecessarily hoard at least $200 million from increasing state revenue. House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh says the total could reach $400 million if revenue trends continue.
Republicans are ready to dip into the growing surplus for some causes, notably including a last-minute move to repeal the state’s “gift tax” at a cost of $15 million in lost revenue. But they insist some hoarding is appropriate because of potential fiscal problems in the year ahead.
House Finance Committee Chairman Charles Sargent, R-Franklin, cites the possibility that the U.S. Supreme Court will uphold a federal health care reform law. That alone, he says, could require another $200 million in state spending in the coming fiscal year, which begins July 1.
But, insofar as debate rhetoric and media attention go, the budget may be overshadowed by pending action on several social issues. Among them: