Pennsylvania Legislator Proposes Legislation to Put ‘In God We Trust’ Sign in Every Public School in the State

Pennsylvania Rep. Rick Saccone (R-obviously) has a history of sponsoring and supporting unnecessary legislation to promote Christianity.

Rep. Rick Saccone (at podium)

In 2012, he sponsored House Resolution 535 to proclaim it the “Year of the Bible.”

That the House of Representatives declare 2012 as the “Year of the Bible” in Pennsylvania in recognition of both the formative influence of the Bible on our Commonwealth and nation and our national need to study and apply the teachings of the holy scriptures.

In May of that year, he supported another piece of legislation recognizing May 3 as the “National Day of Prayer.”

Then, a year later, he sponsored House Resolution 17 recognizing April 30, 2013 as “National Fast Day.” The resolution stated that we owed our dependence “upon the overruling power of God” and that the only nations that are blessed were the ones “whose God is the Lord.”

We’re talking about a representative who should’ve been a pastor but went to the wrong table on Career Day.

Now, Saccone is set to propose legislation that would put the words “In God We Trust” in every public school — and possibly every classroom — in the state. He’s calling it the National Motto Display Act:

The motto “In God We Trust” is part of the history and heritage of the United States. On April 22, 2014, we will celebrate the 150th Anniversary of our national motto “In God We Trust” on our coins.

With this rich history in mind, my legislation will require every school district to display the motto in each school building. The display of our nation’s motto may take the form of mounted plaques or artwork from a student contest that will be prominently displayed in each school building.

Justin Vacula explains the obvious problems:

Public schools which ought to be secular — neutral in regards to religion — will be forced to prominently display religious messages if Saccone’s proposal is passed. Students will undoubtedly receive the message that belief in God — particularly the Christian god — is patriotic and the false message that the United States is a ‘Christian nation.’

I wonder if Saccone would want public schools to talk about the secular history of the United States including founding fathers who believed in a deistic god — a ‘god of nature’ who designed the universe but was not active in human affairs. Saccone’s “traditional values” — whatever they might be — and conflation of patriotism with Christianity ignores the contributions of secular Americans who “made our country a nation like no other.”

The reason these types of resolutions pass is because the politicians know they won’t get much pushback for supporting it. You can change that. If you live in the state, consider contacting your member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. No matter where you are, you can raise hell about this legislation on Facebook, Twitter, a blog, YouTube, or anywhere else.

Motto or not, it’s easy to see how Saccone’s real motive here is to promote his faith in public schools under the guise of American History. There’s no reason a pro-Christian message, even if it is the national motto, should be forced upon students.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.


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