Last Monday, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill that would clear the way for the National Motto, “In God We Trust,” to be posted in all PA public schools. One of the few lawmakers to vote “no” on the bill was Democratic Representative Mike O’Brien. Rep. O’Brien warned against supporting legislation that promotes any public religious statement, saying,
Our role is not to create a theocracy, but to create a commonwealth that represents all people of all beliefs, and I think that this piece of legislation is nothing but an exercise in silliness.
Why is it silliness? Because this is just another piece of unnecessary legislation that serves as a political tool for candidates to pander to their religious bases during re-election races. Schools already have the ability to post the National Motto. The original version of the bill included a mandate that all public schools would be required to post the motto. The current iteration makes it optional, which in essence doesn’t change any laws prohibiting any such display, BECAUSE THEY DON’T EXIST. This bill accomplishes nothing productive, other than pumping up self-serving political résumé for people like the bill’s sponsor, Republican Rick Saccone, who made headlines two years ago by sponsoring a resolution to declare 2012 the “Year of the Bible.” Holy shit, is this guy a monumental legislative time waster or what? Aren’t there more important things to discuss in Pennsylvania?
The PA Senate has yet to review the bill and hasn’t communicated a timetable for it either. The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) is urging PA voters to contact their state senators to shoot the bill down or refuse to review it altogether, considering its redundancy.
Personally, I don’t care if schools want to post the motto, since it’s our National Motto. If it weren’t, I’d certainly be against it. Of course, in a perfect world we’d go back to our original, secular, inclusive motto, E Pluribus Unum. But the religious zealots in the US will spend as much money as they need to in order to have the motto remain unchanged and appear on our money, courthouses, and whatever else they can post that divisive nonsense on.