Allegheny County trusts in reason and the Constitution

Last night the Allegheny County Council voted against displaying “In God We Trust” in council chambers at their meeting this week. The vote needed eight votes in favor to pass, but failed in an 8-6 vote against it.

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald pledged to veto the measure and spoke out against it. Fitzgerald called the efforts to display this phrase on government property “a movement by the right-wing evangelical Christians across the count basically to impose Christianity in courthouses and school buildings across the country.” 

“Allegheny County and this region have become an accepting and inviting region in which we invite all people,” Fitzgerald said.

Several council members spoke against the injection of a religious statement at the seat of government. “Whenever we start mixing them, there’s going to be some problems,” said councilman Michael Finnerty, D-Scott.

“Putting it on that wall does nothing to make us a better council,” said Councilman Jim Ellenbogen, D-Banksville.

Councilwoman Barbara Daly Danko, D-Regent Square, said the council had better things it could be doing. “We shouldn’t do this,” she said.

Councilman John Palmiere of Baldwin, a sponsor of the bill, did not attend the meeting. Councilman Charles Martoni of Swissvale, a sponsor of the bill, changed his mind and voted against it.

Emblazoning the seat of government with “in god we trust” excludes nonreligious citizens and turns them into outsiders.


Thanks to many Pennsylvania FFRF’ers who contacted the Council before the vote. Now it’s time to thank the Council for keeping religion out of government and for ensuring Allegheny County is a welcoming place for all citizens, including nonbelievers.

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald
[email protected]

Phone: (412) 350-6500

Office of the County Council
Phone: (412) 350-6490
[email protected]

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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