Due to the National Motto in the Classroom Act’s passage in the state legislature earlier this year, schools statewide will prominently display the words, ‘In God We Trust.’
The act, which was sponsored by state Rep. Susan Lynn, faced little opposition when it was passed quietly in April.
“It’s really important that students understand the foundation of our country, what our country is about. We don’t have ‘In Government We Trust.’ It’s ‘In God We Trust.’ That’s just a really important concept,” said Lynn, R-Mt. Juliet. “We don’t want students to think that government is the beginning and the end of everything. We make moral and ethical decisions in our daily lives, not based on what government tells us. In fact, the government gets its standards of right and wrong really from God.”
The Congressional Prayer Caucus, a group dedicated to protecting religious liberties, brought the idea to Lynn’s attention.
According to Lynn, while the act does require schools to participate, there will not be a penalty imposed on schools if they are found to be in violation, although Lynn said in any law if there is no penalty stated, it is automatically a misdemeanor.
Regardless, Lynn said she doesn’t see any reason why a school would decide not to display the National Motto, citing the limited opposition at the time of the passing of the law in April and a General Assembly legislative survey in which 86 percent of registered voters surveyed agreed with the measure, while 12 percent were against it and 2 percent were unsure.
Lynn said it would ultimately be up to schools to determine funding and how the motto would be displayed. She suggested the schools could make their own displays.
She also said she plans to donate some sort of sign to schools in her district and suggested other representatives may do the same across the state.
Lynn said there is no date set for compliance.