What a concept. Place our schools under the dependence of God. Sounds like a great plan to me, but the pagans that run my state of California will never go for it. Here’s an edited version of the the story by Moriah Balingit, of the Washington Post…
God “is the light. And our schools need light in them like never before,” the Jacksonville Democrat said Feb. 21. “It is not a secret that we have some gun issues that need to be addressed. But the real thing that needs to be addressed are issues of the heart.”
Her proposal? Ensuring every Florida public school student is educated in a building where “In God We Trust” – the national and Florida state motto – is prominently posted. The bill passed and was signed into law.
Florida is one of seven states this year that passed laws requiring or permitting schools and other public buildings to post “In God We Trust.” Arkansas passed a similar measure in 2017, and Arizona this year allowed schools to post in English the state’s motto, which appears in Latin on the state seal: “God Enriches.”
Arkansas state Rep. Jim Dotson, a Republican, said the national motto reflects a central part of what it means to be an American. He sponsored the 2017 bill requiring the posting of “In God We Trust” in classrooms and has since helped lawmakers in other states pass similar laws.
“Our history and our heritage is incredibly important, making sure that we as a nation remember our roots, remember where we came from,” Dotson said. “America is an exceptional nation. It’s the greatest nation in the history of this planet. Obviously, that success is attributed not just to individuals but probably some higher power than ourselves.”
Even though the laws often pass by substantial margins, some members of the public take deep offense at the posting of “In God We Trust,” saying it violates the Constitution and the nation’s legacy of keeping religion out of government.
Americans have long disagreed about the role religion should play in public life. Some argue the acknowledgment of God is central to the nation’s identity. Others point to the founders’ efforts to eschew state-sponsored religion.
Much of that battle has taken place in public schools. The Supreme Court in 1962 struck down school prayer and in another case ruled against a Pennsylvania school that required students to start the day with the Lord’s prayer and a Bible reading.
Charles Haynes, founding director of the Religious Freedom Center at the Newseum in Washington, said these tensions often flare when the nation is in tumult.
“We’ve had really from the beginning of our country, even in the Colonial period, we’ve had a tension or really an argument about what kind of country we are,” Haynes said. “When we have a period of great anxiety about our nation and who we are and we have a great upheaval . . . this comes backs to the surface.”
It happened after the Civil War, when religion advocates pushed to amend the Constitution to include references to God, and during the Cold War, when evangelical Christians successfully inserted “under God” into the Pledge of Allegiance and pushed to make “In God We Trust” the national motto.
Haynes said we may be in such a moment now, with growing polarization between Americans who have radically different values and perspectives on issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage and growing anxiety over how immigration is changing the face of the nation.
That’s why Rep. Daniels, of Florida, fought “to remind our children of the foundation of this country, which was founded on people who came for religious liberty,” she said in February.
Even though Daniels’ measure passed, some viewed it as an empty gesture and accused the lawmaker of capitalizing on a tragedy to advance her agenda of pushing religion in schools.
Greg Pittman teaches honors U.S. history at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, the Florida school where 17 people died in the February shooting. Pittman said he is religious but resents the effort to bring religion into schools following tragedy.
“I do not see how placing the motto ‘In God We Trust’ is going to protect us from someone coming down the hallway and shooting students and teachers,” Pittman said.
Mei-Ling Ho-Shing, a 17-year-old survivor of the shooting and student activist, said she appreciated the initiative, saying the school could use more “positivity.”
“It’s powerful because it reassures people of faith,” Ho-Shing said.
Read the full story here…