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Email insights: Matt Gaetz enters the fray over ‘In God We Trust’

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

For state Rep. Matt Gaetz, “In God We Trust” is more than the nation’s motto since 1956.

In a new email, Gaetz says it is “literally” the founding values of both Florida and the United States.

So when Police Chief Chris Wells of Bonifay – a small town in Holmes County — is criticized for wanting to keep “In God We Trust” decals on police vehicles, Gaetz felt obliged to step in.

Gaetz asks supporters: “Do you think it is wrong to have it reflected on a police car, fire truck or city/state building?”

Apparently, some people do. Despite the phrase being part of the City’s seal since the ’80s.

You know, that nagging “church and state” separation.

Protesters are demanding Bonifay remove “the motto of our nation,” Gaetz says.

“I say we stand with Chief Wells.”

Our values and first responders are so often under attack these days, he added, so it was about time he entered the fray.

After all, Gaetz is a state representative – looking to move to the Senate.

“We thank God for all things,” he writes. “It is not something we should dissolve or remove from our buildings, our vehicles or our hearts. Do we change our American currency next? This motto is more than just a motto – it is a state of mind and belief in our salvation.”

However, Gaetz – as a state representative – has one primary job: to represent the people of his district.

That means all the people of his district, just as does the police department of Bonifay has the job to protect all its citizens – regardless of religious affiliation.

And despite what it says on the side of a police car.

While many people see religious faith as a virtue, some believe devotion is not a prerequisite for public service. Gaetz may be well served to remember that.

Non-believers are voters, too.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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