A new Louisiana law will require the “In God We Trust” national motto to be displayed at all public schools in every classroom, according to Fox News. HB 8 states that “at a minimum, the national motto shall be displayed on a poster or framed document that is at least eleven inches by fourteen inches.” The bill also requires that the motto be the primary focus of the poster.
The bill was reportedly signed into law by Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards as part of a conservative movement occurring in the state that is focused on bringing back the importance of the national motto. Louisiana joins several other states with the law, including Florida, Arkansas, South Dakota, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Texas.
The motto is notably printed on U.S. currency and has been the target of atheists who wished to wipe it off completely. But in 2019, the Supreme Court denied the petition without comment. The case was brought by Michael Newdow, an activist who also tried to remove “under God” from the pledge of allegiance and remove prayer from the inaugurations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
He argued that the national motto represented an endorsement of religion and therefore violated the First Amendment. His petition to the Supreme Court argued that because his clients were atheists, the motto renders them “political outsiders.”
The motto was first added to coins in 1864 and then to paper bills in 1955.
The Louisiana bill mimics a 2018 bill introduced by Sen. Regina Barrow, who said that if the motto was “good enough to be on our money, it’s good enough to be in our schools.” She noted that the bill was not intending to push God or religion on anyone, but a way to sustain the nation’s history.