The Guilford County commissioners all seem to believe in God.
However, the board had a sudden change of heart this week as to whether or not the county should put the inscription “In God We Trust” on 10 prominent Guilford County buildings – as Commissioner James Upchurch has proposed.
The item was put on the agenda and was set to get approved by a majority of the nine commissioners – perhaps even unanimously – on Thursday, Aug. 17. However, after comments Upchurch made in the Rhino Times, the support evaporated and now the motion is expected to fail.
Upchurch, when explaining the rationale for the move to the Rhino Times earlier this week said, among other things, it’s important to make a statement about Guilford County’s values at this time when – both statewide and nationally – traditional values are under attack.
Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Skip Alston, who had previously favored the move, said that he’d told Upchurch that he would support the inscriptions as long as the action was not politicized. Alston told the Rhino Times on Wednesday, Aug.16 that he had been perfectly willing to support putting “In God We Trust” on 10 buildings provided it was done as a display of respect for what is our national motto.
Alston said 64 other counties in the state had done something similar and he added that the county attorney had prepared a very carefully worded resolution that explained – with zero political bent – that Guilford County was making the move to support our national motto.
He said the comment Upchurch made about traditional values made the matter political. Alston said Upchurch had turned the agenda item into something that brought in the conservative versus liberal debate and now he, Alston, would not be supporting the motion.
Upchurch told News 2 on Wednesday that he believes he has the votes to pass the motion. However, since the Democrats took control of the Board of Commissioners in December 2020, everything Chairman Alston has supported has passed, and everything he has opposed has failed. So, the writing on the wall is that the writing on the county buildings will not get written at all.
In a public statement on the matter, Alston wrote “Any commissioner has a right to bring up new topics for consideration. However, based on the recent comments made by Commissioner Upchurch in a Rhino Times’ article, and the feedback I have received from the community, I have some concerns on any underlying intent. I want to be clear that I support our Country’s National Motto; however, it is my goal that we continue to work as One Guilford and work towards unity in our community. I will not be supporting the agenda item.”
It would have cost about $40,000 to put the inscriptions on the 10 buildings.