“In God We Trust”
School Display Laws

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As part of their larger effort to promote the false narrative that America was founded as a Christian nation, Christian nationalists have sought to require the display of religious materials in public schools.

One of the most successful examples of these efforts is the push to pass state laws requiring that public schools display the national motto (In God We Trust).

These bills undermine students’ freedom of religion by inserting one particular religious view into the classroom.

 

Current Status

Mandatory display laws have already been passed in seven states: Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Utah, and Virginia. Several other states, such as Alabama, Arizona, and Pennsylvania, have laws which encourage the display of the state motto in classrooms.

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Although several of these laws passed before the establishment of Project Blitz, 26 states considered similar legislation and five of these mandatory display laws were passed in 2018.

The existing laws take a variety of different forms. Some require schools to display posters with the national motto if the posters are donated, while others require the schools to pay for the posters directly. Some of the bills require display of the motto in every classroom and library, while other require only a single posting in a conspicuous location.

Relation to Project Blitz

Advocates for Project Blitz are very clear about their agenda.

Bills mandating these displays are easy to pass, and as such, they are the low-hanging fruit acquired first. Once these bills become law, Project Blitz intends to build on that momentum to unleash even more harmful attacks on the freedom of religion.

In some cases, the supporters of these bills use school shootings as an occasion to attack the religious beliefs of any lawmakers who oppose Project Blitz legislation. For example, in Minnesota, state Senator John Marty was attacked by Fox News and other conservative media as being “anti-Christian” for opposing an In God We Trust bill.

But the truth is that students are harmed when their constitutional rights are undermined, and that’s exactly what happens with mandatory public school displays of a religious motto that is inherently divisive. And by enduring this harm, school children become collateral damage in the push to pave the way for legislation that’s even more unjust.