Texas county tax office adds 'In God We Trust' to stationery
'It helps define us as Americans,' tax collector says.
A Texas county tax assessor recently added the motto "In God We Trust" to his office's stationery, and is receiving widespread support from county residents.
Tarrant County tax collector Ron Wright prints the motto on the back of his office's envelopes, and plans to impose the phrase on next year's tax statements.
Wright said he considered the change about a year ago, and when the office needed to order new envelopes, he saw his opportunity.
"I think it was more seeing the elimination of the phrase and how things that have been iconic to us and have been important to us historically because of lawsuits and things like that," Wright explained to CBS 11 News. "People are almost afraid to mention God anywhere officially."
"In God We Trust" was signed into law as the national motto in 1956 by President Dwight D Eisenhower, and appears on US currency.
"It's iconic," Wright said. "It's part of who we are. It helps define us as Americans."
The phrase's religious significance is not lost on the tax collector, however.
"There are people who will see it and see a religious statement and there are others that will see it and see a patriotic statement," he explained. "I look at it and see both."
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Wright reported that only one person has called his office to complain about the change to the stationery. One woman, Leslie Weid Fraser of Aledo, wrote a letter to the editor protesting the motto's presence on her vehicle registration return envelope.
"I consider that a violation of the doctrine of separation of church and state," she wrote to the Star-Telegram.
"Those are my tax dollars, and I don't want them funding a religious opinion.
"The doctrine of separation is there to keep government from promoting or advancing any religion over another. Religion is personal and should not be included on any envelope used by a government office."
The printing plate used to produce "In God We Trust" on the envelopes cost $3.
CBS 11 News reported that most residents that they spoke to supported the change.
"In God We Trust, in God I trust," one woman said. "That's what [the country] was founded on."