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With new sign, county officially trusts God

Henderson County now officially proclaims that it trusts God, thanks to new 10-inch black letters on its most prominent public building.

A sign company on Thursday erected the motto "In God We Trust" on the Historic Courthouse. The work came a year and half after Rick Lanier, a former Davidson County and cofounder of the U.S. Motto Action Committee, urged the Henderson County Board of Commissioners to add the phrase to public spaces. In a unanimous vote, commissioners said yes. The motto had already been placed on the walls of the old courtroom where the board holds its meetings. The motto was also placed on the Grove Street Courthouse on Thursday.

Lanier promised that his organization would pay for the work and according to the county finance officer it has.

"My staff has not seen any type of invoice for that work," said county Finance Director Carey McLelland. "My understanding is they were going to pay for it themselves. We didn't have any money exchanged for any of them."

The city issued a sign permit after Henderson County made the request. After an objection was filed, the city Zoning Board of Adjustment upheld the city zoning administrator's decision to issue the sign permit.

Commissioners said having the message on the facade of the Historic Courthouse was important.

“From my perspective, this statement implies feeling of the citizens of the county at large and having it in this room really limits it,” Commissioner Bill Lapsley said in a meeting in September 2015. “I think it’s important that it be on the front of this building and also on the front of the ‘95 Courthouse. I don’t think we should do something in this room at the expense of not doing something on the outside of the building.”