Letter: ‘In God We Trust’ motto decision made on religious views

There exists just three reasons the Princeton City Council decided to alienate portions of Princeton’s citizenry: No. 1, Mayor Paul Whitcomb; No. 2, Council Member Jules Zimmer; and No. 3, Council Member Jack Edmonds. Conservative outlanders and adherents of the “Keep government out of my life, but let’s keep it in yours,” and the “America founded on Christian values” myth, starry standouts they are.
Edmonds, Zimmer and Whitcomb – probably in that hierarchy – committed an act of religious activism forced upon the public’s domain.
American cities, towns, counties and states are increasingly making government more open and neutral to their citizens.
Yet in an incongruous feat of alienation, one citizen, Cindy Pohlkamp, a representative of In God We Trust-America Inc. and the Sacramento-based Pacific Justice Institute, convinced this choir of three to placard citizens’ property with “In God We Trust.”
Pohlkamp must have induced the fear of peers – everyone is doing it.
The clarion? That “53 cities and counties nationwide have joined the movement, including several in Minnesota such as Crow Wing County, Beltrami County, Elk River and Anoka.”
Fifty-three cities and counties. In the whole of America.
Did the council majority plant her? I cannot prove it. As an observer of politics I only suspect it. She is a person of interest.
Council Member Thom Walker is correct. In God We Trust – America Inc. is a reactionary organization.
They exude xenophobia and a zealousness worthy of a Wahhabite; if you are not a capitalized Christian, you go to hell – but you will retain your head.
The Pacific Justice Institute is anything but pacific. An ultra-conservative-religious organization, its motto is “Defending religious freedom, parental rights, and other civil liberties without charge.” The PJI “Celebration of Justice 2017: 20 Years Defending Freedom” on Oct. 28 features Laura Ingraham.
The richest Evangelicals get in for $10,000 a ticket; chumps poor as Jesus for $250.
Council Member Jeff Reynolds, citing no apparent need of adopting the motto, opposed it on that good and practical reasoning.
Whether Mr. Reynolds – politically conservative himself – is ostracized for independent reasoning, might be a development to keep in view. If he is alienated, I will stand by his independence. That would be culture shock for both of us.
Zimmer ignored the nuances of civil rights, throwing rhetorical mud and misinterpretations of the principle of separation of church and state. Zimmer commented that “In God We Trust,” being on currency and other “official” places – whatever that means – is something he is “not opposed to” is a shallow consideration of a tenant of Americanism.
What his vote actually meant is he opposed to keeping City Hall neutral.
Paul Whitcomb? Whatever.
Nevertheless, the crème de la crème? Jack Edmond’s utter predictability.
So well-known as arrogant, he dismisses citizens based on their politics. No obstacle exists in his pursuit of ignorance. Separation of church and state are only words to him.
With slim margins of error, Edmonds is the man-or-woman-on-the-street’s first guess of which council member would say, “If the phrase on the wall bothers someone, it’s their problem and not the council’s.”
In a perversion of accountability and scapegoating, Jack Edmonds said, “The city owns the building and the school district leases space, so it was technically a city decision to have the motto.”
The “city” is not responsible for the “decision.” The board majority makes the decision. Moreover, it made the decision on religious views, not representative views.
Shame.

James Rittenour, Princeton