WASHINGTON, DC, Sep 7 — Here’s a timely reminder from the great state of Texas where the buffalo roam and American patriotism still rules: In God we Trust. Actually, there are no buffaloes in Texas, although they do have a herd of bison at Caprock Canyons State Park in the panhandle. But the Lone Star State does have a new law that requires schools — elementary schools to institutions of higher learning — to display that motto prominently.
State Senator Bryan Hughes, co-author of the legislation, says it is a “national motto [that] asserts our collective trust in a sovereign God.” Public funds will not be used to produce the “In God we Trust” plaques. They’re being provided by private companies and organizations. For example, the Epoch Times reports that the Texas cell phone company, Patriot Mobile, was one of the first donors to come forward. “These framed posters have our nation’s motto…combined with our nation’s and state’s flags as specified and authorized by this law…[we are] proud to be a part of having our nation’s motto hung in our public schools. Our mission is to passionately defend our God-given, Constitutional rights and freedoms, and to glorify God always.”
Many other companies and organizations are participating in the drive to produce and distribute the patriotic plaques. But, of course, there are the naysayers who say that “if they are allowed to put up signs like this there should be no reasons that other students or people can’t put up signs that have different messaging,” as one disgruntled Texan put it.
However, an anonymous post on social media noted that “the heartwarming efforts of our brethren in Texas to inspire national pride comes at a time in history when too many people who call themselves Americans have become decidedly un-American.”
It was President Dwight D. Eisenhower who, in 1956, signed the law that made “In God We Trust” the official motto of the U.S. And in the ensuing years it has come under fire as has the two words in the Pledge of Allegiance, ‘Under God,” which was also signed into law by President Eisenhower two years earlier in 1954.
Back in 2002 the very liberal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Pledge of Allegiance was “unconstitutional” due to the phrase “Under God.” The Washington Times, at the time, quoted Judge Ferdinand F. Fernandez, who was appointed to the court by the first President Bush. Fernandez “dissented in an opinion that predicted ‘God Bless America’ and ‘America The Beautiful’ also face bans in public places along with the third stanza of the ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ and U.S. currency bearing the words In God We Trust.”
The Supreme Court, just two years later, reinstated the phrase. But that did not suppress the naysayers who seek to do away with God.
According to The Hill, “Forty-seven states in the U.S. require the Pledge of Allegiance be recited in public schools, with varying exemptions for students or staff who wish to opt out. The 1943 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, West Virginia V. Barnette, determined that no school or government can compel someone to recite the Pledge of Allegiance or salute the flag.”
The Hill article describes a variety of nuanced requirements that have been adopted by states as regards the Pledge of Allegiance. Some states that officially require the pledge might not actually provide direct oversight of the rule. Others might simply tell students that they don’t have to participate in reciting the pledge. And then there are those that simply make the pledge a voluntary procedure.
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