Motto change leads to controversy in Angelina County

Lufkin, Texas (KETK) - People living in Angelina County were shocked when they noticed our nation's motto "In God We Trust" had recently been removed from their tax forms.

Sheriff Greg Sanches took to Facebook to start a conversation about it and the response was overwhelming.

In God We Trust has been everywhere in our country since it became our official motto in 1956.

We see it on police cars, city council chambers and on our money.

But one place you won't find it anymore is on angelina county tax forms,

the long standing "In God We Trust" was changed to "Believers Serving Our Citizens".

The motto change started when Billie Page was elected tax assessor back in January, she says she developed the new motto for the office.

"And so I put our motto on the tax statements not realizing it was going to upset a lot of people," said Billie Page, Angelina County Tax Assessor/Collector. "It was not politically motivated, it just happened."

One look around page's office would show she doesn't shy away from her faith.

She says nothing is wrong with "In God We Trust" because she "Trusts in God" as well.

"We're believers in Jesus Christ here," said Page. "It was a misinterpretation of what I meant and it got out of Facebook and a bigger deal was made out of it than necessary."

The post she is referring to is one made by sheriff Greg Sanches, he often uses Facebook as a way to reach out to the community.

"So I put it on Facebook and it just really went really crazy and wild," said Sheriff Greg Sanches. "And it was pretty unanimous, I'd say, that most of the citizens didn't like it."

Shortly after the post, page reached out to the sheriff and the two sat down face to face to talk. 

"She was very courteous and we had a good conversation and she stated the reason she basically wanted to change it," said Sheriff Sanches. "And that was her right to do that but I just told her that I did not like that decision but respected it."

While many respected this move and applauded both parties for being civil, some still say it's a small step in the wrong direction and we need to keep "In God We Trust" wherever we can.

Scott Reed, pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Lufkin, says moves like this are "back peddling out to be politically correct."

"In my opinion it takes God out of it," he said. "Even though she's referring to believers it still tries to ease the minds of those who maybe not believe and that's not what scripture calls us to as believers."

Page now says because the people want "In God We Trust", it's more important than for her to have her motto on the forms.

She says she will put it back on the tax forms in the future.

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