Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said this week that he would veto a measure that would force county council members to display “In God We Trust” in their chambers.
“This has been a movement by the right-wing evangelical Christians across the country basically to impose Christianity only in courthouses and schools buildings,” Fitzgerald explained to KDKA radio on Tuesday. “And there’s one on county council, Sue Means, that’s pushing this.”
He pointed out that people did not need to be a “right-wing evangelical Christian” to be welcomed in Allegheny County.
“We welcome Hindus and Jews and Muslims and atheists,” he said. “This would not be the signal that we want to send as a community, that we’re exclusionary and not inviting to people of all stripes.”
Fitzgerald argued that there was a difference between the new push for Christianity in government and religious acknowledgements on money and buildings for historical reasons.
“I would veto it,” he insisted. “But my sense right now is that council is poised to vote no.”
“Councilwoman Means kind of misled some people about what this was about, about her true intentions. And I think now, other council members are seeing exactly what the intent of this was, these code words, dog whistle. Whatever kind of terminology you want to use. And that’s really what this is about.”
Listen to the audio below from KDKA, broadcast Sept. 9, 2014.
[Photo: Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald (Facebook)]