“In God We Trust” first appeared on US money during the Civil War.

In 1956 Congress voted to make “In God We Trust” the national motto.  Two years prior, President Dwight Eisenhower added the words, “under God,” to the pledge of allegiance.  It was meant to distinguish America from the Soviet Union, which was considered a godless nation at the time.

A new state law in South Dakota requires the message “In God We trust” to be displayed in all public schools in an area where students are likely to see it.  The message must be a specific size and be put in a prominent position.

The Senator who sponsored the bill says the motto has historical significance.  Lawmakers who proposed the legislation believe the quote will inspire patriotism.

One group has already been formed to file a lawsuit, claiming the motto has religious meaning and excludes non-Christian faiths.

Acknowledging that the law could trigger a lawsuit, legislators included a contingency plan that calls on the state to assume all financial responsibility for any fallout.  If suits are filed against any school district, school employee or school board, South Dakota’s attorney general will represent them at no cost.

Kentucky also recently passed legislation requiring public elementary and secondary schools to display the motto in a prominent location.

Before the legislation was passed the ACLU wrote a letter to law makers asking them to stop the bill.  In a statement on their position they stated, “we firmly believe that our legislature should instead be working to ensure that schools are adequately funded, that teachers are appropriately compensated and that our students receive the highest quality education possible.”

After the law passed, the ACLU say they have no plans to fight the law.

Kentucky and South Dakota join Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, Florida, Alabama and Arizona in authorizing the display of the motto.  Alabama’s law, unlike South Dakota’s, is not mandatory and schools have the option to display it or not.

A Freedom from Religion Foundation co-president released a statement saying, “Our position is that it’s a terrible violation of freedom of conscience to inflict a godly message on a captive audience of school children.”

This lady needs a reality check.  I can’t think of a more appropriate place to put the message.

In 2018, there were 24 school shootings in the United States.

Thirty-five people died in these incidents.  More than 114 were killed or injured.  A total of 19,965 students were exposed to violence.  These incidents involved two elementary schools, four middle schools and eighteen high schools.

Seventy-five percent of the shooters were enrolled in the school where the violence took place.

These are just the numbers that were counted.  They do not reflect the episodes we never heard about.  The ones where students were caught before they could carry out their plans or the schools where guns were confiscated from students who had a plan to attack.

The fear of gun violence in school is real for all parents in today’s society.

Experts and research suggest the United State’s abundance of firearms and extremely lax firearm laws have helped create its gun problem.

The number of civilian owned firearms in the United States is 120.5 per 100 residents, meaning there were more firearms than people.

Regardless of the status of gun legislation, it is relatively easy for anyone with a violent intent to find a firearm to achieve their goal of mass shootings.

The role of religion in public life has been debated by experts and idiots.  Some conclude its impact should be embraced and celebrated while others argue the founding fathers sought a separation of church and state.

The debate has even reached the Supreme Court which ruled the motto was “a reference to our religious heritage, making it comparable to the Pledge of Allegiance.”

While some opponents say it pushes the boundary of separation of church and state, others say it illegally puts God back in the classroom.

Maybe if we had let Him stay there, we might not be installing metal detectors in schools and stores would not be selling bullet proof backpacks.

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