South Dakota lawmakers approved legislation in March to require all schools to display “In God We Trust,” but some teens in Rapid City don’t think the national motto is “inclusive” enough.
The student group WISE – an acronym for Working to Initiate Social Equality – are now working to pervert the purpose of the law for the sake of political correctness, and the Stevens High School students offered up a different design for the required school signs at a board meeting for Rapid City Area Schools on Monday.
“Even though we acknowledge that ‘In God We Trust’ is our national motto, we were hoping that we could somehow create a design and show students really want to be inclusive and demonstrate that we are aware of, like, all religions,” WISE student leader Abigail Ryan told KNBN.
The new law requires schools to display “In God We Trust” in a prominent location in every school, but it leaves the specifics, including the form and exact location, up to local leaders. Ryan said WISE is lobbying to convince the Rapid City school board to turn the responsibility into a lesson about tolerance and acceptance and free speech.
WISE’s proposed design features the word “In” – followed by a circle of different religious figures including “God,” “Yahweh,” “Ourselves,” “Science,” “Allah,” “Brahman,” “Buddha,” and “The Spirits” – concluded with the words “We Trust.”
“Since we all have the freedom of religion, the establishment clause in the First Amendment states that the United States government and no government agency should be able to prefer one religion over another,” Ryan said, adding that she hopes other schools will adopt her design.
She also submitted a written statement to the board that stressed WISE students “take great pride in being Americans” but are concerned non-Christian students might be offended by the “In God We Trust” signs.
School board members listened to Ryan’s pitch but did not take action, KOTA reports.
The politically correct proposal comes amid a nationwide movement in numerous states to put God back in schools, over the objections and atheist groups that equate the national motto to state-sponsored religion.
Tennessee, Arkansas, and Florida also mandated the display of “In God We Trust” in schools and other government buildings this spring, and lawmakers in other states including South Carolina, Wyoming, Arizona, Alabama, Oklahoma and elsewhere are considering the same.
“When we took God out of schools, we took the 10 Commandments out of schools. When I was a kid, it was on the principal’s wall outside,” South Carolina state Rep. Mike Burns told Lumen Student News.
Burns contends the prominence of God had a “stabilizing effect in society” and students “knew what was right versus wrong.”
“When we took all that out, look where we’ve evolved to,” Burns said. “Instead of having God in schools, we now have to have bullet-proof class and we’ve got to have metal detectors. It’s sad that we’ve evolved to this negative place that we are, and now we’ve got to try to fight our way out of it.”
“Our national motto is on our money. It’s on our license plates. It’s part of our national anthem,” Tennessee state Rep. Susan Lynn told Breitbart. “Our national motto and founding documents are cornerstones of freedom, and we should teach our children about these things.”
“In God We Trust” first appeared on American currency in 1864, and President Dwight Eisenhower approved a law to make it the nation’s motto in 1956.
It’s also the state motto if Florida, where Democrat Kimberly Daniels sponsored legislation to mandate its display in schools that became law last year.
“God isn’t a Republican, and He’s not a Democrat,” Daniels told WLTX. “He is the light, and our schools need light in them like never before.”