Tell Freeport Public Library Trustees to vote "No" on installation of the National Motto.
This petition made change with 298 supporters!
Members of the Freeport Public Library Board of Trustees:
We, the undersigned, urge you to vote “No” on displaying the National Motto, “In God We Trust”, in any permanent means on the building or grounds of the Freeport Public Library.
We understand that:
- the Library motto is “More than books on a shelf;” and
- the Library’s mission is “to be the Community's Center for Information, Recreation, and Lifelong Learning;” and
- that they both tell of the institution’s desire to be a center of community life; a place of unbiased, engaged learning; and a repository of the timeless wisdom of many traditions, cultures, and beliefs contained in its collection of books and other publications.
Further, we understand that:
- the origin of this phrase was derived from sectarian Christian language, to "relieve us from the ignominy of heathenism" during the Civil War; and
- this phrase was later revived in the 1950s, during the era of McCarthyism and anti-Communist “Red Scare,” to promote one theological system and one political ideology over all others; and
- the permanent display of this phrase is dismissive of those to whom the words belie a history of religious prejudice, bigotry, and racism; and
- in our current political times, this phrase has become a “dog whistle,” inside language and a litmus test for discerning an individual’s political beliefs and allegiances; and
- the promotion of the use and placement of this phrase comes from a concerted national effort to demonstrate one political ideology over all others.
Further, because of the facts:
- that the City of Freeport is a racially, socially, religiously, and politically diverse community, and is continuing to grow in the many facets of its diversity; and
- that through the efforts of Greater Freeport Partnership’s “Freeport All In” campaign, “Diversity in all forms” was identified as one of the six values that “matter most” to our citizens; and
- that a public library (and especially one founded through the Carnegie Library Project) holds a special role in our society as a neutral place of open, unbiased discovery of facts, opinions, theologies, and social viewpoints;
- that the historically documented Christian-centered language of this phrase, and its placement on the building of the library, demonstrates to those who do not adhere to a narrow interpretation of Christian traditions that they are not welcome to openly share their beliefs or seek unbiased lifelong learning at the library; and
- that the use of this phrase on public buildings, vehicles, and other publicly-funded properties is counter to the intent to celebrate and broaden “Diversity in all forms” in the city of Freeport.
Further, we believe:
- That the process towards approving the display was not clearly communicated to the citizens of Freeport; and
- That the posting of the Agenda on the City of Freeport website and on the Library bulletin board in the late afternoon of Friday, June 8, 2018, did not afford the community sufficient time to be informed of the intended discussion and action; and
- That the failure to publicly disclose the name of persons or organization funding the creation and installation of the display brings challenge to the ability of the citizens to witness the Board’s impartiality in their decision-making.
We believe that the display of the phrase “In God We Trust” in a permanent, public display on the Library building challenges the mission of the Freeport Public Library; and that because of this time in the history of our nation, its use would cause division rather than unity in the plurality of the Freeport community.
Please exercise your duty as Trustee of this institution, and vote against this motion and any future efforts to place the phrase in permanent display on the building of the library.
So say we all,
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