American Legion Post in North Carolina Unsuccessfully Tries to Foist ‘In God We Trust’ Posters on Public Schools

This isn’t turning out to be a very good month for the American Legion.

First, members of Post 311 decided they wouldn’t attend a Veteran’s Day assembly at a Pennsylvania public high school because the superintendent told them their chaplain wouldn’t be allowed to deliver a prayer at the event.

Then, there was the PR smackdown suffered by an Illinois chapter of the organization. You’ll recall that after Morton Grove Park District Commissioner Dan Ashta declined to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, piqued members of Legion Post 134 decided they would withhold their $2,600 worth of financial support. On Hemant’s initiative, atheists from all over the country quickly contributed $3,300 to more than make up the shortfall (at least for this year), ensuring that Morton Grove residents can continue to enjoy their greenery.

And now, there’s this:

A representative of the American Legion post in Boone [North Carolina] on Monday criticized the school system’s decision not to accept framed posters reading “In God We Trust” for its school buildings. Rick Cornejo addressed the Board of Education during public comment Monday asking the school system to reconsider. The 16-inch by 20-inch frames feature the words “In God We Trust” on an American flag background.

The American Legion Post 130 has presented 185 of the free signs so far to churches, organizations and businesses throughout the county, Cornejo said.

Great. Churches, private businesses… No problem. Just keep the posters out of schools and other public buildings, please.

In July, Watauga County commissioners accepted one to post in the Watauga County Administration Building.

Uh-oh.

The American Legion Post [also] intended to place one poster in each school, but was denied after the school system’s legal counsel advised that it would not be appropriate to post, WCS spokesman Marshall Ashcraft said.

Ashcraft said the school system was told that the poster could be construed as a promotion of religion.

Ya think? In God We Trust is religious? Well, I can believe it. The Legion members in North Carolina can’t.

Cornejo merely wants to children to learn history, he says:

Cornejo said that “In God We Trust” in the national motto, adopted in 1956, and that it is printed on American coins and bills. He argued that students should be more exposed to historical information, and that other school systems have allowed similar displays.

I agree that more historical information is always better, and hereby humbly offer the American Legion a chance to bundle some of my history-rich articles on Christianity for free — to distribute as widely as the group sees fit.

Just to start the Legionnaires off, I’d suggest:

Distribute away. You’re welcome, American Legion.

About Terry Firma

Terry Firma, though born and Journalism-school-educated in Europe, has lived in the U.S. for the past 20-odd years. Stateside, his feature articles have been published in the New York Times, Reason, Rolling Stone, Playboy, and Wired. Terry is the founder of Moral Compass, a now dormant site that poked fun at the delusional claim by people of faith that a belief in God equips them with superior moral standards. He joined Friendly Atheist in 2013.


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