National Motto Bill Passes, Headed For Governor's Desk

Posted at 10:47 PM, Mar 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-21 23:47:35-04

A bill that would place "In God We Trust" in Tennessee schools passed committee with little opposition.

It first appeared in 1864. "In God We Trust" was printed on a two cent piece. Nearly a century passed before President Dwight Eisenhower declared the motto must appear on American currency, that same year, 1956, "In God We Trust" was adopted as our nation's official motto. 

“We have the national motto on our license plates, it is part of our national anthem, and we also have the national motto on our money,” Representative Susan Lynn said. 

Lynn sponsored the National Motto Bill and said she was approached by the Congressional Prayer Caucus about promoting it in Tennessee.

“Its to put the national motto on display somewhere in every public school where the students will see it,” explained Lynn. 

The bill passed committees this week and will next move on to Governor Bill Haslam's desk for his signature.

“When it gets to our desk we will look at it,” Haslam said Tuesday. 

Some, however, question the bill's religious inclusivity. In a statement from the American Civil Liberties Union, Executive Director Hedy Weinberg  said:

“This legislation distracts school officials from fulfilling their core mission: ensuring that Tennessee children receive the top-notch education they deserve. What's more, this bill sends a thinly veiled message that only students who believe in God are welcome in our public schools. No student should be made to feel unwelcome in tax-funded public school classrooms — no matter their religious belief — and lawmakers should focus on fixing wide-reaching problems like access to comprehensive health care instead of spending hard-earned taxpayer money to divide Tennesseans along religious lines.”

“The bill is not related to any particular religion at all," said Lynn.  

“At the end of the day I’ve never been one that thought having a motto somewhere changed a lot of peoples thoughts,” said Haslam. 

Lynn said the bill comes down to teaching our next generations.

“We all trust in a higher power, and we trust in our families, in ourselves, in each other, not per se in government. We don’t want children growing up thinking government comes first, we don’t. It doesn't,” said Lynn.