Seattle’s Satanic Temple chapter is advocating for a place at the table, and possibly its own sign, in Clark County’s public hearing room, after county officials approved the display of “In God We Trust” last month.
As OPB reported, the sign was donated by a local nonprofit. Satanic Temple members said it’s not representative of the community, and that the sign might just as well say “Christians Only.”
Lillith Starr, head of the Seattle chapter, said in an email that the group’s first priority is to stop the planned county sign “to avoid what we see as a breach of the church state separation and an exclusionary, divisive decision that leaves so many county residents feeling unrepresented and unwelcome.”
If the county goes ahead with installing the “In God We Trust” sign, the Satanic Temple wants another sign to be put along side it that reads “E Pluribus Unum,” meaning “Out of many, one.” It was the original proposal for a seal of the United States, speaking to American efforts to create a nation of states. You can still find the motto on the back of $1 bills today.
Acting Clark County manager Mark McCauley said the county isn’t interested in groups’ opinions outside of the region, and won’t change its mind to put up the sign.
“The issue is pretty much closed,” he said. “We have one national motto. We’re not considering putting any others up in our county building.”
The Satanic Temple Seattle’s website has a link to its online petition and a mock letter that Christians and non-Christians alike can send to county officials.
The Satanic Temple Seattle considers itself an activist group, and was founded last year. Starr said as the only satanic group in the state, it got involved with the Clark County issue after a couple residents reached out, asking for support in fighting the installation.
“Our country is unique in that it welcomes a wide range of diverse viewpoints and cultures with open arms,” wrote Starr. “We feel ‘E Pluribus Unum’ better showcases what makes this such a great nation. We feel it is more patriotic in that it represents everyone, not just one special group.”
But McCauley said the county is moving forward.
“I don’t think (the commissioners are) interested in revisiting the question,” said McCauley. “I think they’re happy with their decision.”