By law, S Dakota schools must now display ‘In God we trust’ signs

By law, S Dakota schools must now display ‘In God we trust’ signs July 26, 2019

EARLIER this year, South Dakota’s  Governor Kristi Noem, above, signed a daft law that compels all public schools in the state to display ‘In God we trust’  signs, and even specified that they must be at least 12×12 inches.

The signs can be painted, stenciled or hung as a plaque, but the law does not provide funding for schools to install the displays.

Well, the law came into effect this month, meaning students in all 149 South Dakota school districts will see the motto on their first day of classes for the 2019-2020 school year – and it was roundly condemned by the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s Annie Laurie Gaylor. She said:

Our position is that it’s a terrible violation of freedom of conscience to inflict a godly message on a captive audience of school children.

Rapid City Area Schools has already worked to install the motto in all 23 of its schools and chose to stencil it to save money. Stenciling cost about $2,800, District Community Relations Manager Katy Urban told NPR.

Urban told the radio network that the community is fairly conservative and believes :

It’s a really great thing for our schools and our districts and that kids are seeing it posted on a daily basis.

She conceded, however, that she’s seen vocal criticism and comments online that threaten a lawsuit.

If someone should file a lawsuit against a school district, employee, school board or school board member over the message, South Dakota’s Attorney General is required to represent them at no cost, according to the law. The Attorney General’s office said it had not received any lawsuits as of  yesterday (Thursday).

In May, a group of students from Rapid City’s Stevens High School told their school board that the motto appears to favour Christianity over other religions. The group, called Working to Initiate Societal Equality (WISE), suggested that the district display a different version of the message that includes Buddha, Yahweh, Allah, science and the spirits.

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Synfandel

    If someone should file a lawsuit against a school district, employee, school board or school board member over the message, South Dakota’s Attorney General is required to represent them at no cost, according to the law.

    There’s no such thing as “no cost”. It should say “at public expense”.

  • johnsoncatman

    Would it come from the education budget? WIN-WIN for the conservatives because that will result in more ignorance!1!!1!

  • D. C. Sessions

    Caligraphic Arabic would be good.

  • sweeks

    A little creative “vandalism”: place a sticker with two “o”s on it over the single “o”.
    “In Good we trust”… and maybe another sticker: “FIFY”.

  • Matt G

    And the educational purpose of this is…? Say, don’t these kids get enough god at home and on Sunday? I’m glad some of these kids see the Christian bias – let’s hope they get through to their schoolmates.

  • Green Mellow
  • Mike Panic


  • rubaxter


  • rubaxter

    Stencil all the toi&#8203let seats and the back plane of the uri&#8203nals, with the fly.

    Or, put it on easily graffiti-ed wood above each aforementioned uri&#8203nal.

    Alternatively, they could just hang the sign upside down.

  • Mark in Ohio

    Rather than raise lawsuits that will be expensive, time consuming, and give them fodder for their persecution fantasies, I think a different approach is warranted. Since their sign is rather nonspecific (they don’t say which “god”), it might be fun to create a set of “god cards” to hand out to the student bodies. These would have an image of the god, with some of his attributes, origins, and other information. Educate the students as to the wide variety of gods and their attributes, in a trading-card format. You could almost take the old D&D “Deities and Demigods” manual and use that for source material, although I would prefer to see a wider array of gods documented. I’d bet that Priapus would be particularly popular with adolescent boys. I’d guess that for Allah, you would just print a black silhouette, as one of his attributes is “doesn’t like having his image created.”

  • Mythblaster
  • Mustafa Curtess

    Actually – Priapus can be recruited to serve for Islam – because Muslims have such immense appreciation for sex. (One must be Muslim to understand that – becaise it’s so alien to Christians.)

  • Mustafa Curtess

    Absolutely! Demand equal opportunity and representation. (Sad that we no longer have anyone with the stature, imagination, and tenacity of Madalyn Murray O’Hair to represent our community).

  • D. C. Sessions

    … and we prove it by leaving the drain line aimed at your shoes.

  • Jim X

    Add SD to the list of red states which I won’t visit or buy products from: AL, TN, MS, KY, OH, NC, IN. Have you seen Indiana’s IGWT license plates? Sick!

  • Jim X
  • Gord O’Mitey

    Hi, it’s yer lovin’ Lord Gord here, mightier than the other Gords, eh.

    Lookit, I wouldn’t trust Me. Jist read My book of books, the Bible, eh. Yah kin see what a feckless fecker I am, eh.

  • Ron Cernohorsky

    So sorry that just the name ‘God’ offends you.. But it is not surprising coming from the ALL inclusive left, except when it comes to Christian beliefs.Just the mention of Gods name unbelievers feign persecution and claim they are being singled out. So I think its unbelievers, not Christians with the persecution complex.

    I rather teach kids that there is a God, than the falsities of Evolution

    There are so many inconsistencies in EVILoution(As Richard Dawkins pronounces it) that it is hard to believe they still teach it.

    William Fix (no creationist by any means) expressed evolution this way:

    “To say that 100 million fossils in the world’s museums constitute ‘100 million facts that prove evolution beyond any doubt whatever’ has about as much credibility as an election in one of those theoretical ‘democracies’ where 99 percent of the vote goes for the party leader and the other 1 percent are taken out and shot”

    Ronald West, professor of paleobiology at Kansas State University, has agreed:

    “Contrary to what most scientists write, the fossil record does not support the Darwinian theory of evolution because it is this theory (there are several) which we use to interpret the fossil record. By doing so, we are guilty of circular reasoning if we then say the fossil record supports this theory” (216).

    Godless beliefs have been so valuable in the progression of society. Since the Bible has been removed from schools and evolution began being taught as fact, murders, teen-suicide/pregnancy, drug use, and sexual assault/rape have skyrocketed. But that is to be expected when teens are taught that they are nothing more than evolved pond scum with no inherent value or purpose.

    If you believe today’s youths and their total lack of respect for authority figures; Police, Teachers, Parents, etc; and the rise of teen suicide and rape, which was not prevalent when I attended school in the ’70s and ’80s is a step up, then you sir, most likely are contributing to the problem.

    And it funny

  • a_b704

    It’s about time we honored Eric Clapton!

  • a_b704

    If I was still a little 14-year old miscreant in school, I could see myself crossing out ‘God’ on their idol with a sharpie pen, and replacing it with Satan, L.Ron Hubbard, dollars, etc.

  • Bezukhov

    Or write “But does God trust us?” on them.

  • Guzzman

    I never said I am “offended” or have “disdain” for the term “God.” What I find disgusting is mandating that “In God We Trust” be posted in public schools. It is just a sneaky attempt to proselytize a captive audience of impressionable school children. IGWT is divisive and sends a stigmatizing message of exclusion to the ever-growing portion of the population who are non-religious.

    The phrase “E Pluribus Unum” also appears on our money and our national seal. So why aren’t they promoting the prominent display of “E Pluribus Unum” in our public schools? If their faith is so strong and convincing, why do certain Christians need government to prop up their religious beliefs?

  • Indeed, what happened to “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and unto God what is God’s” — the words of Jesus, clearly distinguishing between the two different spheres of government and religion?

  • Guzzman

    Good point. A few religious groups do actually adhere to the biblical principle of keeping the domains of government and religion separate. The plaintiff in a recent court case involving school-sponsored prayer over a PA system is Baptist and believes that “praying in public is a sin based on Matthew 6: 5-6.” (see Cole v. Webster Parish School Board, 2017). Engel v. Vitale (1962), involved a Jewish man and several other plaintiffs of various religious faiths, who successfully challenged the constitutionality of a state-composed prayer that was used to start each school day. In Santa Fe School District v. Doe (2000), one Mormon and one Catholic family filed suit challenging proselytizing prayer at high school football games. And in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette (1943) we have Jehovah’s Witnesses to thank for protecting students from being forced to salute the American flag or say the Pledge of Allegiance in public school.

    From the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty website:

    “The separation of church and state, or the ‘wall of separation’ talked about by Colonial Baptist Roger Williams, early American leader Thomas Jefferson and the U.S. Supreme Court, is simply a shorthand metaphor for expressing a deeper truth: religious liberty is best protected when church and state are institutionally separated and neither tries to perform or interfere with the essential mission and work of the other. Separation has been good for both church and state.” (Source:

  • sweeks

    Don’t forget Cthulhu.
    Oh, wait… that’s an imaginary, made-up god.

  • fractal

    Repetition breeds familiarity.
    Familiarity breeds acceptance.
    Putting this phrase where children will read it daily, is an attempt to brainwash.

  • fractal

    Who brainwashed you?

  • Ron Cernohorsky

    Well, that would not be the God of the Bible they are promoting on the $1.

    If you have not researched it, Freemasons, whom worship Lucifer/Satan of the Bible are the ones that designed the logo. And since they, not the government(s) rule whats is going on in the world, it will not be removed until we transition into a cashless society.

  • Ron Cernohorsky

    A better question would be. At what age did you decide to reject the notion that there is a Creator/God?

  • fractal

    Because the only concept of Goddess and creation is yours—correct?

    You want to worship the thought processes of 4000 year old goat herders—Sad. Bigly.
    But your choice.

    Personally, I have evolved and perceive Divinity and the Sacred in a much more robust and vibrant way.
    I sing the body electric!

  • fractal


  • fractal


  • fractal

    Let’s not forget Taoism and Buddhism, which really have no opinion about “god” at all…

  • fractal

    Let’s make sure there are some Goddesses in that list!
    The First Sin was turning the Sacred into an “outee” instead of an “innee”.
    That fractured dichotomy was the beginning of the Fall.

  • Ron Cernohorsky

    Actually no. Man has been creating ‘gods and religions’ in THEIR IMAGE for centuries.

    If you take a close look at some of the religions, they are usually designed around that person(s) carnal desires. Their religions and gods never seem to condemn all sin and are always accepting of certain lifestyle choices that the God of the Bible declares as sin.

    If I was just looking for a religion and a god to worship just for the sake of it, I most certainly would not have picked Christianity. For me, the thought of having to wait until I am married to have sexual intercourse is not that appealing, I will be honest. But, fornication is declared sin by God and thankfully, I did not choose the God of the Bible, Jesus Christ, He chose me

  • fractal

    You got sex on the brain.
    I never mentioned it once, but there you are going on and on about it…

  • Ron Cernohorsky

    As a matter of fact, it is YOU that is focusing on the sex. That was not even the point I was trying to convey but it is the ONLY part that you addressed out of my entire statement, not surprisingly.

  • Sophotroph

    Interestingly, as no money was provided for the signs, schools can’t be found in violation if they just ignore the law.

    Many won’t, but there’s a least that.

  • Sophotroph

    Every so often, a Christian happens upon us who is so distanced from reality that there’s really no hope in communicating with him in any productive way at all.

    Congratulations! You’re this month’s winner!

  • fractal

    Typical “frame-flipping” pretzel logic.
    YOU kept going on and on about sex.
    OWN IT.

  • Ron Cernohorsky

    Yay. I am so Happy I made your little list. Perhaps if i try hard enough I can make the list EVERY month.

    Research before you dismiss, unless you like being in the dark

  • Ron Cernohorsky

    If that was the point of my argument, I would own it.

    But having debated unbelievers , who rarely have counter arguments except for the same old arguments they use time and time again, normally try too deflect the conversation in an attempt to conceal the fact that they really do not have any argument.

  • Sophotroph

    I will live to see the end of everything you believe to be eternal truth.

    It’s not the greatest prize life has to offer, but it’s nice.