Attention, members of the ACLU and the Freedom from Religion Foundation: Kentucky will be seeing you in court, no doubt.
Yes, in a move that must thrill pretty much every organization trying to extirpate every vestige of religion from our public school system, Kentucky has decided to display the official motto of the country in its public schools. For those of you with a Common Core education who may not be familiar with the motto, there’s one word in it that could make some liberal activists very queasy.
“Public schools in Kentucky would have to display ‘In God We Trust’ in a prominent location next school year under a bill that has cleared the state House of Representatives,” The Associated Press reported.
“The Republican-dominated chamber approved House Bill 46 on Wednesday by a vote of 72-25. It would require public schools to display the national motto in a prominent location beginning with the 2019-’20 school year. There are no penalties if schools don’t comply, but someone could sue to force them to do it.”
There are detractors, because of course there are.
“Bill sponsor Republican Rep. Brandon Reed said the motto reflects an essential part of what it means to be an American,” the AP continued. “But Democratic state Rep. Kelly Flood voted against the bill, saying lawmakers should practice tolerance, saying people are called to be citizens, not comparatively better Christians.” (Emphasis mine.)
But that’s the freaking national motto.
Unfortunately for the ACLU and the FFRF, if this bill gets signed into law, there probably isn’t a whole heck of a lot of legal recourse. (Not that they won’t waste their money trying or anything.)
First, there’s the long history of “In God We Trust” cases that have legally face-planted anytime they’ve gotten into court. The most infamous of these involve Michael Neudow, and the less said about that professional atheistic attention-seeker, the better.
Going beyond that sort of thing, in a 2018 ruling, a federal court found that “In God We Trust” on money wasn’t a violation of the Establishment Clause.
“While other courts have allowed the motto’s use on currency, Circuit Judge Raymond Gruender said it also did not constitute an establishment of religion under a 2014 Supreme Court decision requiring a review of ‘historical practices,'” Reuters reported.
“Gruender said the Constitution lets the government celebrate ‘our tradition of religious freedom,’ and that putting the motto on currency ‘comports with early understandings of the Establishment Clause’ without compelling religious observance.”
“Under the test the Court described in the 1971 case Lemon v. Kurtzman, a government-sponsored display violates the Establishment Clause if it lacks a secular purpose, if its ‘principal or primary effect’ is to advance or inhibit religion, or if it fosters ‘an excessive government entanglement with religion,'” he writes.
Secular purpose? Check. It’s the official motto of the United States.
Does it seek, as its “principal or primary effect,” to advance religion? No, not at all. Neither does it create “an excessive government entanglement with religion.” Yet again, it’s just our national motto.
But of course, should this get signed into law, we’re basically going to see a gaggle of lawyers descend on the state capital of Frankfurt and/or the nearest federal court, lodging some sort of complaint about this. It’s become predictable and tiresome, but one can safely bet the FFRF is going to have their attorneys trying to insist to judges that everyone else had it all wrong when it came to “In God We Trust” and the Establishment Clause, and even if they didn’t this case is totally different.
Such is the tireless harping of the godless faction of the left, that airless, humorless little corner of humanity that insists the Constitution doesn’t just mean that public institutions can’t push religion but that any remnant of religion — even if it relates to our national history — that might still be hanging around our public institutions must be rooted out with a fanatical zeal.
Of course, I might be anticipating things here. This isn’t law yet and no lawsuit has yet been filed. Then again, when you look at the number of times that the FFRF’s obsession with the motto and its pernicious meaning on their website, one doesn’t have to use too much of their imagination to visualize where this will end up.
And, you know what? Bring it, I say. Now granted, I’m not Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (a Republican, of course) and I don’t have to have my state’s attorneys dealing with this nonsense. However, I think it’s nonsense worth dealing with — and I think Bevin would agree, considering he’s the governor who signed a bill allowing schools to teach the Bible as part of a history class.
The Bluegrass State — and others — should take a stand and put our national motto back into our schools. Instilling patriotism in our young isn’t a sin, even if that dreaded G-word happens to be involved.
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