Michigan Gov. John Engler recently signed into law a bill encouraging the use of the motto, “In God We Trust,” to be placed in public buildings throughout the state, including public schools. City councils and school boards throughout the state have already begun posting this phrase in their public buildings, an obvious violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

It is unfortunate that many school districts, such as those of Rochester Hills and Troy are considering ordinances to place this religious phrase in every classroom throughout their districts. Children should not be forced or encouraged to practice religion in a public setting as they may feel excluded or face ridicule if they do not believe in God or practice a religion.

Furthermore, these districts are willing to accept donations of classroom posters from the American Family Association or their local supporters. The AFA is a Mississippi-based organization created to “motivate and equip citizens to change the culture to reflect Biblical truth.” This includes a boycott on Walt Disney because of its alleged connection to homosexuality as well as a nationwide campaign to place “In God We Trust” in every classroom in the United States.

“In God We Trust” has gained popularity after Sept. 11 as a way to express unity and solidarity with the United States despite criticism from those abroad. Yet by using the phrase, these politicians are violating the very freedom they are attempting to celebrate.

The United States Congress first adapted this phrase as the national motto in 1956, soon before it began printing it on the dollar bill and all successive currency. Since then, the nation has become even more diverse and more progressive. It is time for the United States Congress, local legislatures and even the University (religion is mentioned in writing above Angell Hall) to start re-evaluating this unconstitutional tradition and begin embracing the freedom that the United States is supposed to represent.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.