In the wake of the Parkland school shooting, one of the most useless responses by the state legislature was a bill to force every school in Florida to display the phrase “In God We Trust” in a “conspicuous” place.
Because that’s how you stop the shooters.
Then something remarkable happened: The bill flat-out died in the State Senate. It didn’t even make it out of the Education subcommittee.
But minor political hurdles like that never stopped legislators from pushing their God on everyone else.
So when a major education bill was being considered by the full legislature, even after the House and Senate had offered a variety of amendments, the “In God We Trust” measure was thrown into the final version at the last second… and it passed.
Few people even seemed to realize what had happened since there’s no real media coverage (much less outrage) of this backdoor approach to getting God in school.
Florida law now says:
Each district school board shall adopt rules to require, in all of the schools of the district and in each building used by the district school board, the display of the state motto, “In God We Trust,” designated under s. 15.0301, in a conspicuous place.
How this will help students is anybody’s guess.
How schools will pay for it is also up for debate.
The Atheists of Florida, however, are now offering to help schools fulfill this mandate by giving away free signs for display. They all say “In God We Trust” as the law requires… but they also say a few other things.
Okay, the graphic design could use some work, but ultimately, there’s no “good” way to display a religious message in a public school.
In a letter to Florida superintendents, the atheist group sent this message:
It is well understood that the state budget falls far short of funding education at an adequate level. And now, more expense has been added with the new requirement for posting the state motto in every school and building throughout the entire state. We, at Atheists of Florida, Inc, would like to assist in defraying the cost of this unfunded mandate. To that end, we are offering to provide the required signs with the state motto. We offer two versions, both of which highlight the diversity of religious choice in the United States.
We hope you will accept our offer. We very much support the public school system and want to help in any way we can. We look forward to hearing from you with the information on how many items you need. Of course, you can do a combination of the two, just let us know how many items are required for each option. This offer is open ended.
Even if nobody takes the atheists up on their offer, the posters make clear one loophole in the law: Schools may have to display “In God We Trust,” but there’s nothing stopping them from adding more to those signs.
Like, say, a disclaimer saying “The state made us do this.”
Or, as the atheists suggest, the nation’s original (albeit unofficial) motto “E Pluribus Unum.”
Hell, they could just stick a tiny “o” in the word “God,” and the saying would become uplifting!
They’re all tiny patches to cover up another big mistake from state legislators. I hope the voters remember that come Election Day.
(Top image via Shutterstock)