NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A new law that will take effect in August will require all state schools display the words "In God We Trust" somewhere in clear view of students.
The "National Motto in the Classroom Act" was sponsored by state representative Susan Lynn. Lynn said this is a way to display the motto in a historical way.
"I think it's really important that children understand the foundation of our government," she said. "The US congress passed the national motto in the 1940s and I was surprised in our schools. We have other historical documents on display in our schools. It's just really a good thing to display our national motto."
The requirements for what the national motto might look like are loose. It could be a plaque, a poster or even the students could help make it. However, it must be displayed in an entry way, cafeteria, or common area where students are likely to see the national motto display, according to the bill.
"They can put up a plaque, they can put up a poster," said Lynn. "Somebody mighty donate a poster or the kids could paint a mural. It's really pretty eclectic, it's up to the school and I think the kids will have fun doing it."
However, there is some push back across the state.
"This is preaching a religious agenda," said Aleta Ledendecker, president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation of East Tennessee. "If it were not in order to promote religion, they would have used the original US Motto which was E Pluribus Unum. 'Out of many, one.' By using "In God We Trust, they are really being quite divisive. Because it sends the very clear message that those who don't hold with the Christian faith do not live with the same standards as those who do."
Representative Lynn said this has already been tried in court, that Tennesseans are patriotic and want this bill.