News

LFA News and Publications

23

Bill would require 'In God We Trust' display at schools

posted on
Bill would require 'In God We Trust' display at schools

Bill would require 'In God We Trust' display at schools

By Joby Richard / LSU Manship School News Service

BATON ROUGE — A bill unanimously advanced through the Senate Education Committee Thursday that would require each public school in Louisiana to display the national motto “In God We Trust.”

The bill, introduced by Sen. Regina Barrow, D-Baton Rouge, would require each school district to display the national motto in each school by the 2019-20 school year.

Barrow said she was motivated to propose the legislation after Gov. John Bel Edwards’ prayer breakfast last week. “We have an obligation to ensure students have that introduction because we cannot always assume that it’s necessarily happening at home,” she said.

Sen. Beth Mizell, R-Franklinton, supports the bill and told the committee that a number of schools already display the motto. In Tangipahoa Parish, Mizell said, there is a school board member who made it her business to install “In God We Trust” throughout parish schools.

The Tennessee legislature recently passed a similar bill that is heading to the governor’s desk for signature. Similar legislation also has popped up in Arkansas, Florida, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Wyoming.

“In God We Trust” became the national motto in 1956.

Proponents across the nation argue that the motto is on U.S. money and on license plates. They argue that it is a cornerstone of freedom and should be taught in schools.

Opponents raise potential constitutional issues in today’s diverse public schools.

In 1962, in Engel v. Vitale, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a 1962 New York statute that allowed public schools to hold short, non-denominational prayer in the morning before school.

The Court decided that the prayer amounted to an “official stamp of approval” of one particular set of religious beliefs in violation of the Establishment Clause, which states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”

In 2004, the Supreme Court did give a nod of approval to the phrase “under God” being recited in the Pledge of Allegiance in Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow.

Justice Sandra O'Connor even specifically mentioned the national motto in her concurring opinion.  O’Connor approved these references to God because “their history, character, and context prevent them from being constitutional violations at all.”

Barrow’s bill now heads to the Senate floor for debate.

A related bill also cleared the Senate Education Committee Thursday.

Sen. John Milkovich, D-Shreveport, proposed that any school employee may participate in a student-initiated prayer gathering at any time of day as long as it does not interfere with his or her work duties.

Current law only allows employees to attend these gatherings held at beginning or end of the work day.

| Categories: LFA News | Tags: | View Count: (822) | Return
News Categories

Most Popular

  • First lady of Louisiana forestry

    Early in the 20th century, the practice of forestry in America was in its infancy. Its proponents were strong-willed men with a determined focus. Women were not and would not become involved in this m...
    Read More
  • The State of Louisiana’s Forests

    As we celebrate Arbor Day in Louisiana, we think it’s a good time to catch up on the “State of the Forest.” Trees cover half of our state and forests are the single greatest land use in Louisiana. ...
    Read More
  • Reward offered to nab perpetrator who destroyed woods equipment in LaSalle Parish

    A reward of up to $7,000 has been offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people who vandalized and destroyed a LaSalle Parish logger's equipment, according to th...
    Read More
  • Louisiana Logger Magazine - April 2015

    Louisiana Logger - April 2015: Someone may be watching you!; Bonner Logging has husband and wife duo; OSHA Alliance with loggers works to improve safety; It’s wild turkey season in the woods of Louis...
    Read More
  • 2014 LFA Annual Report

    President Dave Cupp's message, comparative budgets, 2015 LFA Board list, highlights from 2014, news including emerald ash borer, billboards, Kisatchie quarter and Martco's planned OSB mill.
    Read More
  • Arbor Day seedling giveaway

    The Louisiana Forestry Association (LFA) is giving away 1000 trees on Wednesday, Jan. 23 for Arbor Day. The giveaway will include red maple, baldcypress, nuttall oak, and Eastern redbud. The tree give...
    Read More