Passed into state law last March, bill HB839, and now in applications with the beginning of the school year upon us, public schools in Florida are legally required to display the verbiage “In God We Trust”, the state’s motto somewhere on site. The state government even going so far as emailing signage to school districts to ensure that the saying is prominently displayed.
And as predicted, this has stirred quite the controversy. The Freedom From Religion Foundation claims that this is unconstitutional. They elaborate, “these godly postings exclude and alienate the one in five students in our public schools who do not believe in god. And they’re meant to. These laws are not about patriotism, they’re about turning believers into insiders, and nonbelievers into outsiders. There’s nothing patriotic in undermining our nation’s secular Constitution.
The sponsor of the bill turned law, Representative Kim Daniels – Democrat, realizes that the country needs serious gun reform in the wake of the Stone Douglas school shooting but said “The thing that needs to be addressed are issues of the heart. God is not republican nor democratic. He is not black or white. He is the light and our schools need light in them like never before.”
While I believe that the Freedom From Religion Foundation may be taking things too far, I do find the entire thing slightly ridiculous. As long as there is no pandering religion in the classroom, what does it matter if there’s a sign hanging outside that mentions “God”. As a jew, I see crosses hanging everywhere and I don’t feel the need to convert.