Florida Requires Schools Display “In God We Trust” Motto, Alabama Next
All Florida public schools are now required to exhibit the state motto phrase “In God We Trust” in a visible space, in accordance with a measure passed by Florida Governor Rick Scott.
In March, Scott sponsored an education bill that included this measure referencing the benefits of this historic phrase in spaces used by youth.
“Each district school board shall adopt rules to require, in all of the schools of the district and in each building used by the district school board, the display of the state motto … in a conspicuous place,” the measure reads in the 2018 Florida state statutes.
Tennessee public schools also require this measure, and one district in Alabama is now poised to add the religious reference to their state-funded schools.
One month after the Alabama state courts approved the display of “In God We Trust” plaques in public spaces, the Blount County school district has begun legal consultations in preparation of being the first to put the Christian emblem on their walls.
Blount County Superintendent Rodney Green says a policy to implement these displays could come together as soon as next month.
The phrase, which is printed on the nation’s paper currency, is a nod to the county’s Christian heritage, but many have argued that displaying it in government-funded spaces does not adhere to the nation’s separation between church and state.
Upcoming midterm elections will also present Alabama voters with a choice whether to allow changes in the state constitution which would permit the display of the Ten Commandments in public schools.
The religious majority of Alabama residents are evangelical Christians, and President Trump targeted these voters as his audience on the campaign trail by advocating for the protection of Christian expressions and symbols. US Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a former Alabama senator, has also publicly pledged to, and the taboo of religious lingo and has dissipated in the current administration.
Groups acting as watchdogs and advocates of the separation of church and state say that this has likely contributed to policy changes on a state level, and have led to the allowance or requirement of visible claims such as “In God We Trust.”