The United States has long been held to the rule that there is a clear division between matters of the state and matters of religion. The country has a decidedly secular government. This is by design. The separation is intended to protect the religious beliefs and rights of everyone in the country. The government is not permitted to endorse any religion or religion itself. It is not allowed to establish a national religion as has happened in some other countries. The laws about separation of church and state apply to nearly all government institutions and employees.
A problem recently is that a segment of the large number of Christians in the United States have started to question whether church and state should be separate. This comes as secular laws begin to contradict some teachings in holy books like the Bible. The result has been a wave of pro-religious attempts to create laws that match Christian beliefs for no real reason. There have even been aggressive claims that the United States is somehow a Christian nation when everything contradicts that concept. The pro-Christian movement has resulted in some high-profile incidents and mass protests lately.
Certain people at all levels of the government are now attempting to push a Christian agenda on the country through insidious ways. These efforts have no respect for religious freedom, the freedom to live without religion and the beliefs of non-Christians. People like Kim Davis actively violated the law because her religion is against marriage equality. She was supported by Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee and praised as a hero within the movement. Lawmakers and judges have attempted to codify some beliefs in regulations or install Christian symbols in public spaces violating the law.
Some law enforcement agencies started to join the pro-Christian movement in America. This was done by adding the words “In God We Trust” to police vehicles and other locations. The problem is that the police are government employees and officials. They are bound to keep their jobs and religion separate under the Constitution. Some people responded with great joy at the defiant move. These individuals believe that Christians are persecuted the United States somehow despite there being around 360,000 churches in the country. That idea of persecution drives some to actively rebel and even commit acts of violence or vandalism against the perceived enemies of Christianity.
One police department decided to fight back against the idea that everything in the country should be blatantly Christian. The officers of the Austin Police Department in Alabama had been driving around in cars with “In God We Trust” plastered on the back. This can sometimes be seen as an endorsement of a religion or religion in general. The department changed the decals recently. They were replaced with the simple words “We the People” on all vehicles. The department described that there is no controversy with those words. They are intended to show that everyone is an American. They also serve the purpose of reminding everyone that the police officers in the cars are part of the larger community.
The move did not spark a large backlash. It seemed to go largely unnoticed in the area. Some people did come out to praise the police department through social media. The move was seen as a good first step towards being inclusive of everyone regardless of religious beliefs or non-belief. A big benefit is that the new decals were actually donated to the police station by an average citizen. This meant there was no cost to taxpayers to make the change. The police department is going to keep the decals and hopes to set an example for other law enforcement agencies around the country.