Ballwin officials voted Monday to reject a plan to to put up an "In God We Trust" sign on city property.
The Holy Infant Knights of Columbus had pledged $750 to putting the motto on a sign in this St. Louis suburb. All the plan needed was the approval of the city's board of aldermen.
The aldermen voted 6 to 2 against displaying the motto "In God We Trust" in four-inch letters behind the dais, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Ballwin originally seemed to support the proposed sign until Nikki Moungo, a Ballwin resident and self-proclaimed atheist, spoke out at an aldermanic meeting, asking the board not to alienate non-religious residents.
"Doing something like this is going to create a problem where, right now, none exists," Moungo said at the meeting. "So to me, it's inviting trouble. It's asking for exclusionary conflict. And I can't abide that."
Moungo wasn't sure her speech could stop the sign from going up, she told Daily RFT. She'd written the council about her opposition to an "In God We Trust" sign before the meeting, but her letters went unanswered.
After her speech, Alderman Shamed Dogan emailed her to thank her for speaking up.
"I guess you just have to get in their face to get an answer from them," she said.
Moungo returned to the board's chambers to speak against the sign Monday, this time saying she'd received a death threat and plenty of private support for her stance.
"If this proposal passes, the aldermen need to bring in their own tools and pry the existing city motto off the wall. An 'In God We Trust' plaque underneath 'Ballwin: Bringing People Together' is an unscrupulous lie," she said at the meeting. "'We' implies all, and 'we' simply do not all trust in God. Some trust in completely different gods and goddesses altogether." Here is Moungo's second speech:
The six aldermen who voted against the sign told the meeting that while they are religious, they did not want to approve a sign that would cause divisions, according to the Post-Dispatch.