The Pennsylvania state legislature is almost certain to pass a bill requiring the posting of “In God We Trust” in every public school in the state, in one form or another. It’s already passed the relevant committee and will soon be headed for a full vote.
Rep. Rick Saccone (R-Allegheny) sponsored the bill, titled The National Motto Display Act. He says it’s important that schools display the words “In God We Trust,” as the phrase is closely connected to Pennsylvania history. Former Pennsylvania Gov. James Pollack is reportedly responsible for putting the phrase on coins while serving as the director of the United States Mint about 150 years ago, according to local outlet WHTM-TV. The phrase was adopted as a national motto in 1956.
The measure would require schools to present the words on a plaque or through student artwork, according to the outlet.
“It’s passive exposure,” Saccone told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “They don’t have to look at it because if it’s on the cafeteria wall or if it’s over the front door they can look at it or don’t have to look at it. Why would we not celebrate our national motto? We can have witches on brooms in schools, we can have Dracula, and vampires and zombies, but we can’t have our national motto in our schools?”
And of course, Saccone is pretending that this has nothing at all to do with inculcating religious belief in students:
During the committee hearing, he said, opponents raised questions about whether the measure would withstand a court challenge and concerns that it might trivialize the motto.
“This isn’t about evangelizing,” Saccone said. “This is about celebrating our national motto.”
No, this is about asserting Christian privilege. What if one were to ask, “What about those students who don’t believe in God, much less ‘trust’ him?” The answer would be tough, you just have to take it. This is what the majority believes, so you don’t count. But the government is forbidden from declaring any religious belief true; to do so is an establishment of religion.
The original motto, though unofficial, was E Pluribus Unum — out of many, one. It expressed the hopeful basis of any democratic republic, that though we may have differing views on a wide range of things, we can build a nation that allows us each to have our say and protects our equal rights. “In God we trust” does the exact opposite, it says that this nation is a religious one and the non-religious (or those of another religion, like Buddhism) will just have to accept being second-class citizens.