Recently the City of Wentzville MO added an In God We Trust sign to their city council chambers. This did not sit well with some locals.
The local representative for The Original Motto Project, Sally Hunt, attended the meeting and voiced dissent from us and other citizens.
That meeting did not end well for Sally.
It appears that Mayor Nick Guccione was less than thrilled to hear from her.
After she had only spoken for 4:35 of her allotted 5 minutes, the mayor interrupted her and told her that her five minutes were up. He then began to question her about some of her statements, particularly one about the citizens of Wentzville that opposed the sign being afraid to publicly voice their opinion. He claimed that her statement was hearsay. And then followed it up with this incredibly ironic statement:
“We hear from our citizens, who also tell us the truth. They’re not afraid to let us know when they’re angry about something.”
So Mayor, do you know that for certain, or did you hear it from someone. Sounds a lot like hearsay to us.
He then said the he didn’t see anyone from Wentzville opposing the sign. When Sally defended her statement by saying “I just told you why you haven’t”, Which brings us to the most interesting point in the meeting.
But before we get to that, remember that he cut her off 30 seconds early to question her.
Then, without any warning, he says “I’m going to have you removed” and continuing to tell her that her time has expired even though he just took up the last minute of time arguing with her including her last 30 seconds speaking time.
At this point Sally goes back to her seat, followed by two police officers who intend on escorting her out.
Sally then asks why she is being removed and she is told her time is up and that she is not from Wentzville as the officer bodily escort her out of the room.
After she leaves the room the another board member comments on how “she was just putting on a show” and the Mayor said “she’s been planning this for a while”
Well, Mayor, after being part of the planning process with her, I can assure you that having you throw out a speaker for opposing In God We Trust was not part of the plan. In fact in three years of opposing In God We Trust, have we ever seen a single person removed from a council chamber for such a spurious reason. To be honest we’ve never seen anyone who has spoken against this phrase removed by the police.
So Mr. Mayor, is this a public meeting that follows rules or just your fiefdom, that has it’s own rules on hearsay or should we call it heresy.
To make matters worse, Sally was followed by a former member of the council who asserted that Sally only wanted things her way. Which is odd coming from a person who is happy that a sign promoting her religion is on the very desk she used to sit at. Who is the one wanting things “her way”?
The actions taken by this Mayor are why we need to oppose this phrase. It is intentionally exclusionary and now has been used to justify the silencing of a citizen.
When the government begins to remove citizens on false charges, which was obviously the case here, we are seeing the slow erosion of the 1st amendment freedom that allows us to address the government with our grievances. Couple that with the complete disregard for the separation of church and state and it is obvious that secular citizens are in for a wild ride.