The Tennessee Senate has passed a bill that would require that the U.S. motto, “In God We Trust,” be posted on public school property in a prominent place for students to see each day.
The bill has been passed by both Houses of the legislature and now sits on the desk of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam (R) for his signature, Fox News reported.
Haslam has not stated whether he will sign the bill into law, but he has hinted that he is not a fan of the measure. Recently, he noted that he has “never been one that thought that having a motto somewhere changes a lot of people’s thoughts.”
While some in the state have raised the issue that the motto is a state endorsement of religion and, therefore, unconstitutional, the bill’s sponsor said it is a generic motto that should not bother the faithless or “people of other faiths.”
“Our national motto is on our money. It’s on our license plates. It’s part of our national anthem. Our national motto and founding documents are the cornerstones of freedom, and we should teach our children about these things,” sponsor Republican Rep. Susan Lynn of Mt. Juliet said.
The motto “In God We Trust” was made the official motto by an act of Congress in 1956. However, the motto is far older than that, having first appeared on U.S. currency in 1864.
Efforts similar to Tennessee’s new bill have been launched in Arizona, Alabama, Oklahoma, Florida, Wyoming, and South Carolina.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.