Gary Ovitt

11:39 PM PST on Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Press-Enterprise

San Bernardino County supervisors could be adding the motto “In God We Trust” to their board chambers.

Board Chairman Gary Ovitt said he will introduce a proposal at the Dec. 7 meeting to add the benediction to the wall behind the dais where supervisors sit.

“It’s a way of trying to set the tone for the discussion and business that take place in the chambers,” he said.

Board meetings already include an invocation, usually given by a local religious leader, and the Pledge of Allegiance.

Ovitt decided to consider adding the motto after Chino Valley Unified School District board member James Na raised the request two weeks ago.

Na told supervisors that Joyce Butler, a longtime Chino community activist who recently passed away, asked him to do so.

“One of her last wishes was to have our national motto to be installed, displayed in the county chambers,” Na said.

Other cities such as Chino, Chino Hills and Ontario already have similar displays.

Adding the motto to government buildings has been challenged in some areas by those who say it violates the separation of church and state.

Earlier this year, a federal appeals court upheld the use of “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance and “In God We Trust” on U.S. currency after a Sacramento atheist sued.

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