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Bill Would Require 'In God We Trust' in Every Oklahoma Classroom

Flickr / Kevin Dooley

A Senate Committee passed a bill Monday morning that would force schools to display the national motto “In God We Trust” in every classroom.

Senate Bill 1016 requires the placement of the motto, as soon as private funds are available.

Grove Republican Senator Wayne Shaw says he authored the bill because the national motto is on the official currency of United States, so it should be in Oklahoma classrooms.

“It’s our national motto–I think it needs to be displayed, first of all. Secondly, ironically, there’s some people don’t even know it’s our national motto, and they need to be aware of that.”

The General Government Committee also passed Senate Bill 1378, requiring every classroom to display the Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, again, if funding is available.

The bill's author, Broken Arrow Republican Nathan Dahm, says the displays would not be provided by the state, but contingent on private funds.

“Arkansas has implemented this previously, and they had a veterans’ organization that stepped up and provided all of the posters, essentially a poster of the National Motto, for all the schools. I think it was, like 27,000, something like that, that they provided for that.”

Opponents raised concerns these bills were micromanaging schools by telling them what they had to display in every classroom. They put forth an amendment to make it optional for schools, but that motion was defeated.

Both measures passed the General Government Committee by a vote of 6-4 and now move to the full Senate for consideration.

Nearly a dozen states allow or require the national motto to be displayed in schools and public buildings, according to research by the National Conference of State Legislatures and Freedom From Religion Foundation.

Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, and Wyoming are all currently considering similar bills.

Michael Cross is the host of KOSU's Morning Edition.
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