State Legislature Passes Bill Requiring 'In God We Trust' To Be Prominently Displayed


In what is sure to cause renewed debate into how far is too far for public displays of religion, one Tennessee bill is pushing those boundaries for public schools.

According to Fox News, the bill would require public schools throughout the Volunteer State to display the motto “In God We Trust” somewhere on their grounds where it can easily be seen.

Though not yet signed by Republican Gov. Bill Haslam, the bill has already passed both Republican-led chambers of the legislature.

The legislation, sponsored by state Rep. Susan Lynn, R-Mt. Juliet, was quickly met with backlash over whether or not it’s legal for Tennessee to seemingly endorse a religious point of view.

However, Lynn argued that both “faithless people” and “people of other faiths” shouldn’t be bothered by the proposed bill, as she pointed out that the U.S. was, in many ways, founded on sentiments similar to the one seen in the motto.

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“Our national motto is on our money. It’s on our license plates. It’s part of our national anthem,” Lynn argued.

“Our national motto and founding documents are the cornerstone of freedom and we should teach our children about these things,” she added.

The motto “In God We Trust” first appeared on the two-cent piece in 1864, nearly a year before the Civil War would come to an end.

It wasn’t until 1956 that a law declaring the motto be placed on all U.S. currency was passed thanks to a Joint Resolution by the 84th Congress, with then-President Dwight Eisenhower approving it. Since 1957, the motto has appeared on all paper currency in the U.S.

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According to the Tennessean, bills such as the one championed by Lynn and other Republican lawmakers are proposed periodically, effectively pitting conservative Christian groups against secular activists and those who argue in favor of the separation of church and state.

Many took to social media to display their approval or disagreement with the bill. Some agreed with Lynn, but others called out what they saw as a forceful display of religion and waste of resources.

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Though Haslam has not yet revealed whether he will sign the bill or not, he did say that he has “never been one that thought that having a motto somewhere changes a lot of people’s thoughts.”

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ASU grad who loves all things reading and writing.
Becky is an ASU grad who uses her spare time to read, write and play with her dog, Tasha. Her interests include politics, religion, and all things science. Her work has been published with ASU's Normal Noise, Phoenix Sister Cities, and "Dramatica," a university-run publication in Romania.
Bachelor of Arts in English/Creative Writing
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