“In God We Trust”: An Imposition or Recognition?

Since 2018, all Louisiana schools were mandated to hang “In God We Trust” signs in public schools. However, a recent bill enhanced this law to hang the signs in classrooms. This begs the question: is religion being imposed on the student body, statewide?
“In God We Trust”:    An Imposition or Recognition?

In June 2018, Louisiana’s democratic governor, John Bel Edwards, passed a law requiring “In God We Trust” signs to be hanged in all public schools. Recently, he passed another law, further strengthening the previous one, to obligate public schools to post these signs in all classrooms. “In God We Trust” is the nation’s and Florida’s motto; it preaches that the political and economic prosperity (its security and competitiveness) lays in God’s hands. Fellow southern states, Florida, Arkansas, and South Carolina, have this mandate too. However, Tennessee and South Dakota revoked this law due to pushbacks from parents who argued, “It excludes students who do not believe in the Christian God.” 

Representative Dodie Horton, the bill’s author, expressed her reasoning to amplifying Louisiana’s “In God We Trust” law.  

“It doesn’t preach any particular religion at all, but it certainly does recognize a higher power.”

— LA Representative Dodie Horton

Speaking of religion in schools, the 1943 supreme court case, West Virginia Board of Education vs. Barnette, prohibits the obligation of students to state the pledge in public classrooms because it imposes religion. 

You may have noticed students seated during the pledge in your own classroom; this is the law that allows them to.  

These facts beg the question: If we have the choice to say the Pledge of Allegiance, per the Supreme Court, why are “In God We Trust” signs obligated in all public Louisiana classrooms, per the Louisiana government?  

Furthermore, doesn’t the “In God We Trust” signs impose some form of religion onto students, as the pledge does? 

I believe mandating the “In God We Trust” in public schools and classrooms imposes religion, specifically Christianity, onto students, without any religious consideration. 

As most U.S. citizens know, we have five freedoms: speech, press, assembly, petition, and religion. If “In God We Trust” posters are shoved in our faces, in all our classes and around school, do we really have the freedom to believe in who or whomever we want, or are we victims of Louisiana’s attempt to promote Christianity? I vote the latter.  

I wonder why the state feel compelled to promote Christianity? Will it increase test scores or keep students on task? Most likely, not. Perhaps it’s because Louisiana is a Republican state and has been for several years. Furthermore, most states along the sunbelt are Christian and Republican. 

According to U.S. News, 84% of Louisiana citizens are Christians, making it likely that our government would attempt to impose Christianity. Of course, this is just my speculation, but there must be some truth to my statement. Additionally, U.S. News states Louisiana is the fourth most religious state after Arkansas. 

Horton’s reasoning doesn’t consider students and faculty who don’t believe in a “higher power.” How would you feel if you worked at a place that is biased towards something you don’t believe in? Well, it’s safe to say that’s what some students experience every day.  

You might be thinking, “Just ignore the posters; they’re just signs.” 

What if someone is threatened by the posters? Additionally, the “In God We Trust” signs still imply religion, even if it is in a subtle, ingenious way. 

Of course, states are allowed to implement their own laws and regulations as they see fit, if it doesn’t contradict the nation’s laws, under the Supreme Court. However, I believe this law is borderline unconstitutional as it interferes with our freedom of religion.  

There are two plausible reasons for the “In God We Trust” posters. Firstly, what if this is Louisiana’s way of recognizing those who are Christians and making them feel heard through these mandated posters. Or secondly, maybe our state government is saluting the national government’s motto.  

Whatever the true reason may be, the mandating of “In God We Trust” signs sparks controversary from me, non-Christian, and non-religious students. I implore you to think about this matter more and to form your own opinion. Religion will forever be one of America’s most sensitive and controversial topics today. Will we ever construct strict boundaries on the basis of religion, or will it be an ongoing debate until the end of time? 

What are your thoughts? Send a letter to the editor.  




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