This is a guest post by Angie Molleck. Angie spoke against the use of an In God We Trust Sign in St. Peters MO.
My name is Angie Molleck. I am a resident of Moscow Mills, but I grew up here. I graduated from high school here. This is my hometown.
Recently, I attended the meeting in which one of your resident’s, Brynn, led a secular invocation in place of the usual Christian prayer. Her words were about unity and community. She was thoughtful, respectful, and encouraging, yet she was met with hostility. Some members of this panel refused to even look up and acknowledge her as she spoke. During open forum, she offered to replace this ’In God We Trust’ sign with a unifying sign, based on philosophies we all share as humans. She has since been labeled a “radical activist.”
During that open forum, the hostility from people in support of the sign was intense. I witnessed one member of the crowd grab Brynn by the shoulders as she screamed inches from Brynn’s ear. There was a standing ovation after a particularly awful speech where a woman spewed hate toward people of other beliefs. These things happened in this room, and there were no voices in leadership admonishing this hate.
This is exactly why this sign is problematic. Because this government building has endorsed the Christian religion with this sign, Christian extremists feel emboldened to say hateful things toward other residents of your city. Surely, you cannot be ok with this type of behavior. The people of Saint Peters deserve leadership whose intent is to see a strong, unified community. Do you agree with the woman that those who do not share your belief in god should leave this country? Elected officials should value all residents.
I heard the question asked last time I was here: “How could a sign bother anyone?”
I’m going to bring this to a personal level, and I hope by doing so, this community and its leaders will have a chance to hone the skill of empathy, which has been lacking here in this room.
Abuse within churches is an all too common news story, these days. I stand before you as one of its victims. If I shared the details of the abuse I endured within my church, you would be kept awake tonight by the horror of it all. Everything I suffered was done to me in the name of god by someone who was known as a “man of god.” Imagine how I feel standing in front of this sign.
Should this government have to cater to me because of my personal experience with religion?
Absolutely not. It would be ludicrous for me to ask this government to display my beliefs about god. I am, however, asking you to remain neutral. Because that is your job. You are my government. You are not a church. This building should be safe for all people of all beliefs.
You don’t know why people choose their faiths. It’s all very personal, and this discussion doesn’t belong here. The idea that I’m having to defend my right to be free from religion in my hometown government building is so highly inappropriate.
This sign is against the constitution. The words shouldn’t be on our money either. We have to keep speaking this truth until the Supreme Court hears us. I am asking you to hear us now. The rights of non-Christians matter.
This is my government, too.
Angie Molleck is a mom to two young sons. She is fortunate to have a strong, hilarious, supportive husband beside her as she navigates the terrifying, wondrous role of motherhood and fights to make the world a better place for her children. Before leaving the work force to become a household executive , Angie worked in the field of education. She is new to the fight against Christian extremists and their intent for theocracy, but her own personal battle to recover from the abuse she endured in the name of ‘god’ fuels her desire to join this cause. After surviving trauma at the hands of religious leaders, she now finds strength and healing in a community of others who are recovering from religion. This community of survivors has inspired her to be a voice for victims who are not yet ready to speak.