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Sign doesn’t belong in city chamber

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Ever since I heard that the Auburn City Council was choosing to display a sign that reads “In God We Trust,” I have been uncomfortable with the idea. Recent letters have inspired me to write, as they have included some pretty big assumptions about atheists and about God. Like those who believe in God, the goddess, Allah, Yahweh, or other names for that which is beyond naming, atheists are a varied bunch. They do not all blame God when things go wrong, nor do they all talk of heaven. Like theists, most atheists are doing their best to live by their values. As a Unitarian Universalist minister, I have the privilege of serving a congregation that includes people with a wide variety of theologies, including agnosticism and atheism. Along with the theists in the congregation, these are people who find joy, meaning and hope. I hear from several writers that their faith is important to them, and I support their right to live their faith in ways that do not harm others. I also hear from readers that they are concerned that people want to take God out of Auburn. My experience of the divine has nothing to do with signs. Any god that can be removed by taking down a plaque is a pretty small god. Faith does not have to be impacted by a sign. Freedom of religion is impacted, though, as those who do not believe in God should be equally represented. This sign makes the assumption that we all mean the same thing when we say god, and that we all do, in fact, place our trust there. Since this is not true, the sign does not belong in our city building if the people are to be represented. Because when we say, “we, the people,” I want us to mean everyone. The Rev. Lynn Gardner, Auburn