Kentucky is one of several states caught in the hairs of the Project Blitz playbook, which urges politicians (especially Republicans in red states) to pass legislation promoting various forms of Christian Nationalism.
Last year, evangelist Brandon Reed, a Republican who serves in the State House, filed House Bill 46, which required public schools to post “In God We Trust” signs in every building. The bill was signed into law this past March.
The relevant portion of the new law says this:
Beginning in the 2019-2020 school year, local boards shall require each public elementary and secondary school to display the national motto of the United States, “In God We Trust,” in a prominent location in the school.
The display required in paragraph (a) of this subsection may take the form of but is not limited to a mounted plaque or student artwork.
For purposes of this section, “prominent location” means a school entryway, cafeteria, or common area where students are likely to see the national motto.
One interesting thing about that wording is that, unlike some states, there’s no requirement that the display be a certain size. As long as students can theoretically see the words, schools are following the letter of the law.
Even in Kentucky, though, plenty of administrators are aware that the phrase sends a message to Muslims and atheists and Jews that they’re not welcome here. It’s not their beliefs getting this special treatment, after all. Just Christian ones.
That’s why you have to applaud what they did in the Fayette County Public Schools (in Lexington).Instead of, say, painting the Christian phrase in gigantic letters in some hallway, the board sent each school a framed copy of… the back of a one dollar bill.
Hey, it includes the phrase.
This is what it looks like in the office of one of the schools in the district. (I’m not including the name of the school here, but an administrator there told me the picture was delivered to them by the district and they put it up in the main office.)
While a district official didn’t immediately respond to my request for comment regarding their thought process, I love how the dollar bill subversion allows schools to explain the picture however they want.
“Kids, in our school, you’re always #1!”
“Kids, work hard so that you can achieve your financial dreams!”
“Kids, your teachers need a raise.”
What they don’t have to say is the truth: “Kids, the Christian majority in our state legislature wanted to force Christianity down your throats by making sure you saw these words every day.”
It’s a brilliant move. It’s even better than a suggestion that was made (and rejected) in South Dakota.
Now it’s time for other Kentucky districts to follow suit. For once, the phrase appearing on the currency is a good thing.
(Thanks to Johnny for the link)