Editor Note: Our take? If you’re triggered by the American Flag, get the hell out of America. We want to know what you think. Send us your thoughts in the form at the bottom of this article.
A big win for America Tuesday night, despite those who want to see the American Flag removed from our country.
Patriots packed City Hall in Laguna Beach to throw their support behind the new USA-themed decals on Laguna Beach patrol vehicles.
There was even a moment during the meeting where people broke out in song, singing the Star Spangled banner.
BREAKING: What a moment here in #LagunaBeach, where a woman speaking in support of new USA police decals starts singing the Star Spangled Banner (very well!) and then everyone in the room joined in! @FOXLA pic.twitter.com/hCNy1OxaUA
— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) April 17, 2019
“My first impression I thought, when I saw the police car, was a resounding ‘Hell yeah!’ I love it,” said a U.S. Marine to the room.
Also in the room was a self-identified legal immigrant, who said:
“The American flag represents freedom, liberty, and equality…to the residents who have been offended by the American flag, I have a message for you — leave this county as soon as possible.”
The City Council asked those who support the decals to raise their hands. All except one person did.
BREAKING: Laguna Beach city council just asked people in room to raise hand if they support the new USA flag decals on police cars. Almost everyone in room raised hand. When asked who opposes, one, single person raised their hand, to chuckles from the crowd. @FOXLA pic.twitter.com/E2PyQWAh76
— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) April 17, 2019
Case closed. The decals are staying.
Here’s the back story.
Some people in the community saw the new design and said it was “too aggressive”.
You can’t make this stuff up.
In the interest of pandering to haters, officials decided to reconsider the February decision to paint the Laguna Beach Police Department’s fleet of 11 squad cars.
At least there was a little common sense left in the town leading up to the vote:
“People are screaming that the American flag on a police car is somehow or another … hurting people’s feelings who might be immigrants or visitors,” said Councilman Peter Blake. “People are actually ridiculous enough to bring up comments about our cop cars having American flags on them.”
At the March 19 council meeting, a self-described “artist” named Carrie Woodburn addressed the council.
She said it was “shocking to see the boldness of the design” when the newly painted Ford Explorers rolled out.
“We have such an amazing community of artists here, and I thought the aesthetic didn’t really represent our community,” Woodburn said. “It feels very aggressive.”
Perhaps she could paint a picture of melting snowflakes that can be put up on the police department lobby?
Attorney Jennifer Welsh Zeiter said at the last council meeting that she found the police cars “exceptional”. She went so far as to question the loyalty of anyone who objected to the American flag display.
“They are so filled with hatred toward this … office of the president of the United States and the current occupant of that office,” she said, “that they cannot see through their current biases to realize that a police vehicle with the American flag is the ultimate American expression.”
Back story: in February, the council agreed to repaint its all-white square cars in black and white. On them would be the image of the flag running through the word “police” on the doors.
Ready for another story of triggering thanks to the “big, scary flag”?
Local designer Chris Prelitz said he was dining with his wife at the Montage hotel. That’s when he claims every freaked out and parents and small children started running for their lives. Pure terror, apparently.
“There was like a little panic going on, and I was like, ‘What’s happening?’ ” Prelitz said.
That’s when he realized the horror. A couple of those police cars had arrived.
“When one of them’s there, it works. But all of a sudden, I saw, wow, when there are three, maybe four of them together, folks thought it was a SWAT team, federal agents. So it had a very striking, strong impact, so much so that I think there might be some unintended consequences.”
He didn’t specify if the people scattering were legal or not. He also didn’t elaborate to local media on just how many tears of horror he shed during this life-threatening encounter.
Laguna Beach Police Cpl. Ryan Hotchkiss is the president of the Laguna Beach Police Employees Association. He said he had received only positive feedback.
“Every time I came to a stop sign, every time I came to a red light, somebody is telling me the car looks great,” Hotchkiss said at the March meeting. “Every one of our members that drives the car loves it, and we look forward to keeping them the way they are.”
Apparently the design now on the cars isn’t as “muted” as the version that was unanimously approved in February.
But to appease those on the left, the logo was reconsidered “out of an abundance of caution to address questions that have been raised about the process.”
Seven of the 11 vehicles have the design, according to police Sergeant Jim Cota.
Police Chief Laura Farinella is all about them. At the Feb. 19 meeting, she said that black and white was more visible and distinguished police squad cars from other security vehicles. The Mayor agreed.
“This is about safety. I want anybody to see it, period,” Mayor Pro Tem Steve Dicterow said at the February meeting.
Last month, it was the words “In God We Trust” that triggered another meltdown over police cruisers.
Here’s the message we got at Law Enforcement Today:
Law Enforcement Today:
I was driving through Texas today and saw the words “In God We Trust” on a cruiser on the highway. I’m not sure if your company oversees police unions, but I figured I should start by reaching out to you.
God is a fairytale. He doesn’t exist. Having these four words on the police means you can’t trust the police seriously, because they obviously perpetuate lies.
It’s a clear violation of the separation of church and state. It’s offensive to me and because it’s offensive to me, it’s obviously offensive to others and it needs to be removed.
It devalues the police. It devalues what they stand for. It shows they only protect people who also share their same warped beliefs.
Please pass this along. In God We Trust doesn’t belong on police cars.
Well, I’ve got some words for Joe.
I’m going to preface this by telling you I’m a proud Christian. I want to clear the air on that in advance. I’m of the belief that everything I have in life is because of God, who was so kind and merciful that He gave His only son for us. I pray daily, and I’ll be praying for you tonight.
Now that we have that out of the way, I’m going to set aside my faith for a minute in hopes we can try and find some common ground. Because clearly that’s not going to happen on the God topic, and that’s ok – I believe that as a Christian, I’m called to be a fisher of men… not just a fisher of other fishermen.
In 2015, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a legal opinion on the topic you wrote to us about. He said that police cars showing the motto in his state are not a violation of the First Amendment’s Establishment clause.
“A court is likely to conclude that a law enforcement department’s display of the national motto, ‘In God We Trust,’ on its patrol vehicles is permissible under the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution,” Paxton said, citing a long list of court decisions.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation has been fighting the displays. Prior to Paxton’s statement, they’d already sent letters to more than 60 police departments around the country asking them to stop the practice of displaying “In God we trust”.
Now let’s talk about your argument that it “devalues” police and means you can’t “trust” them.
If I handed you cash, would you spit in my face?
Would you tell me that my money was worthless? That the cash held no value? That you couldn’t trust it to make a purchase?
Here’s the thing, Joe. In 1956, President Dwight Eisenhower signed Public Law 84-140, which was passed by Congress.
That law directed the Treasury to use “In God We Trust” on money. But that’s not all. Congress also said in a joint resolution, Public Law 84-851, that “the national motto of the United States is hereby declared to be ‘In God we trust.’”
It’s gone to court. And in 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, based in New York City, said that the use of the phrase “In God We Trust” on American currency was constitutionally permissible in the case of Newdow v. United States.
Who brought that suit? Attorney Michael Newdow, on behalf of 11 atheists and humanists and two organizations.
Newdow was made famous in 2002 when he won a ruling from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (who anyone with a brain recognizes as the looney bin of courts) that struck the words “Under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance.
The Supreme Court later overturned that insanity.
Newdow failed miserably. The Second Circuit shot down his argument that the words violated the First Amendment’s Establishment and the Free Exercise clauses, as well as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.
“We have never addressed the question of whether the inclusion of the words ‘In God We Trust’ on United States currency violates the Constitution or [Religious Freedom Restoration Act] and write today to clarify the law on this issue,” the opinion states. “Four other circuit courts have ruled on this question, however, and have found that the statutes at issue do not contravene the Constitution.”
Now Joe, listen, I get it. Words are scary. But in my experience, sometimes words are scary because they make us look deep into ourselves and we don’t like what we see.
My guess is that you’re afraid of not just those words, and not just police, but the idea that by recognizing that God exists means you have to recognize that some things are just outside of our control.
That’s how it is for police officers. While I’d never suggest they are all men and women of faith… I’d suggest that they’re willing to recognize that they do not have control over everything in this world.
That their own safety and protection is sometimes not in their hands.
Joe, I’ve been blessed to interview countless cops over the years.
Through tears, Micah recounted the day he responded to a 9-1-1 call and found a young boy accidentally hanging in the shower on a Soap-On-A-Rope.
The grandfather was crying desperately. It was the first time the boy’s parents had gone on a date in years… because his mom was terrified something bad would happen if they did.
Danny told me about the body of the baby he found. He also shared the story about running into a burning building – as a police officer and without fire gear – to save the lives of children. Danny is a father.
Brandon told me about the guy he caught on the way to kidnap, torture and murder his pregnant girlfriend.
Jessie told me about the day a terrorist shot him at point blank range through his patrol car window while he sat at a red light.
For so many… it’s all too easy to allow the darkness in the world to take over.
But we need to remember that those who hold the Thin Blue Line are those who fight to keep that evil and that darkness at bay.
Not all of them pray. But for the many that do… their prayers are fierce. And often selfless.
When they pray for safety… they are asking God to bring them home to their loved ones so that spouses aren’t widowed and children aren’t burying a parent.
They are praying for the recovery of victims.
They are praying for strength to get out of bed every day. To turn off the TV when the media paints them in a negative spotlight. When protestors demand the removal of “pigs” and “killers”.
They are thanking God for the stranger who bought them a coffee or for the opportunity to have saved a life or even just touched one that day.
They are asking for patience. For clarity. For support in the battle against the demons of post-traumatic stress that they and their brothers and sisters face.
When someone who isn’t a police officer is in church, they have the luxury of focusing on the service. The music. The family.
Our Sheepdog don’t have that luxury. Because they are often thinking about the unseen threat facing their parish. Their family. Their community.
Yes, chances are the police officer that drives those police cruisers you’ve seen puts their trust in God. But there are no guarantees.
And because there are no guarantees, perhaps it’s worth considering putting your own trust in God.
After all, I’d rather put trust in God and end up being right when I die… then NOT put my trust in God and end up being wrong.
Remember, Joe – you can always look the other way when you see something you think is wrong, like big scary words. But our officers will never look away when they see something they think is wrong… and neither will He.
In God We Trust.
Kyle S. Reyes
National Spokesman, Law Enforcement Today