Aug 21, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Texas mandates donated "In God We Trust" displays in schools

Photo: Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images

Texas schools have started receiving posters of the national motto "In God We Trust" that they will be required to display in accordance with a new state law.

The big picture: Those opposed are sounding the alarm about the law, arguing it imposes religion on students and flies in the face of the expectation that schools be secular.

The law, which was passed last year, says elementary and secondary schools must "display in a conspicuous place in each building of the school or institution a durable poster or framed copy of the United States national motto" if the signs were donated to the school district or bought with private donations and given to the district.

What they're saying: "We just felt like it was a great opportunity to display our national motto in our public schools," state Rep. Tom Oliverson (R), who co-authored the bill, told KHOU.

  • "This was an idea I had after seeing something similar happen in a couple different states."

The other side: “These posters demonstrate the more casual ways a state can impose religion on the public,” Sophie Ellman-Golan of Jews For Racial & Economic Justice (JFREJ) told the Guardian.

  • “Alone, they’re a basic violation of the separation of church and state. But in the broader context, it’s hard not to see them as part of the larger Christian nationalist project.”

The community group Southlake Anti-Racism Coalition issued a statement after the Carroll Independent School District received posters to put in each school there, per CNN.

  • "SARC is disturbed by the precedent displaying these posters in every school will set and the chilling effect this blatant intrusion of religion in what should be a secular public institution will have on the student body, especially those who do not practice the dominant Christian faith," the group wrote.

Worth noting: Several states have passed similar laws requiring the display of the motto in recent years.

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