Back in February, the Arizona Senate voted along party lines, 17-13, to pass a bill amending the law so that teachers could post the state motto, “Ditat Deus” in their classrooms.
Why would Republicans want to do that?
Because passing the bill would presumably allow them to post the English translation of that motto — “God Enriches” — in schools everywhere.
Keep in mind the law already allows teachers to put the following up in their rooms: The national motto (“In God We Trust”), the National Anthem, the Pledge of Allegiance, the Constitution’s preamble, the Declaration of Independence, the Mayflower Compact, any speeches or proclamations by the Founding Fathers or our presidents, “Published decisions of the United States Supreme Court,” and any acts passed by Congress.
Did they really need more God in that mix? (Hahahaha. As if we even have to ask.)
Now the bill is in the GOP-run House and the same conversation is happening there.
Here’s atheist State Rep. Athena Salman saying the English translation has no business in classrooms since that’s not even what the state motto is:
“‘God Enriches’ is not the historical use, nor is that the state motto,” Rep. Athena Salman said, D-Tempe.
She’s right and she’s right.
And here’s a typical Republican:
Rep. John Allen, R-Scottsdale, said religion had a place in the public square during the founding of the country, and so such mottos have historical connections.
“The idea that somehow our children are not going to live up to our expectations of being good people because someone mentioned God to them, I think, is one of the crassest, political things I’ve ever heard,” he said.
Holy straw man, Batman! No one said putting up a religious motto would hurt students’ moral development. This is a matter of principle and the law. And more to his comment, there’s nothing “crass” or “political” about defending the Constitution. Crass and political is forcing religion into the classroom for no reason other than it’s a cheap stunt that will appease conservative Christian voters who care more about symbolic stands against perceived persecution than substance.
One good thing about having a secular organization in the state is that there are voices of reason in the media offering reasonable rebuttals, even if the Republicans themselves refuse to go along with them:
Tory Roberg of the Secular Coalition for Arizona opposed the proposal at a recent committee hearing, taking explicit concern with the English transition of the motto.
“We’re talking about allowing teachers to put a sign on the wall that says ‘God Enriches’ with no explanation,” she said.
That’s what this comes down to. It’s just a new way to push God in school. It won’t help anybody, but it’ll make Christians feel better about themselves. And isn’t that the proper role of government?
(Original image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Brian for the link)