Several state legislatures have proposed bills that would require the words "In God We Trust" to be displayed in public schools.
On Feb. 21--a week after 17 people were massacred at a Florida high school and a day after state legislators refused to advance a ban on assault rines that was requested by student survivors--the Florida House instead adopted House Bill 839, which would require "In God We Trust" to be conspicuously displayed in every public school.
"Proponents of the bill claim they want to require public schools to post this phrase simply because it is the national motto," said AU Legislative Director Maggie Garrett on AU's "Wall of Separation" blog. "But their own words betray these claims and divulge their real purpose--to encourage students to believe in God."
Bill sponsor Rep. Kim Daniels (D-Jacksonville) repeatedly referenced her religious motivation. On the House floor, she explained "that God is positive" and he "is the light. And our schools need light in them like never before." She continued, "As a believer, we do not have to get in our closets to worship God" and "we cannot put God in a closet when the problems we have are bigger than us." Instead, she said we should place this phrase in the schools so "our children can see something positive."
In January, Florida Rep. Larry Lee (D-Ft. Pierce) explained that he supports the bill because "the nation was 'built on God' and the bill is a great idea at a time when many young people aren't going to church," according to Fox News.
Although HB 839 did not become law before Florida's legislative session ended on March 11, legislators instead inserted the "In God We Trust" display language into a must-pass education funding bill, House Bill 7055. Republican Gov. Rick Scott quickly signed the bill into law; it also includes expanding an existing private...