Once again, Republican lawmakers in Oklahoma are trying to pass a bill, HB 2085, that would require all 342 state-owned buildings (including public schools) to display the words “In God We Trust.” It’s a bill that’s likely to pass given the makeup of the legislature.
The most damning thing about this unnecessary bill is that it uses taxpayer money to cover the costs of the signs instead of using private donations as other states have done in similar situations. According to the state’s own Office of Management and Enterprise Services analysts, this would cost “$250 per building” — or “$85,500” altogether. And that’s just for starters since we’re not even getting into the maintenance.
It’s just a colossal waste of money.
A similar bill was proposed last year, but died in the Senate due to a COVID-shortened legislative session.
Even besides the money, though, the motto itself is just a religious slogan wrapped in patriotic clothing. It’s exclusionary. It obviously dismisses atheists; it’s also a slap in the face to religious non-Christians. The Tulsa World even brought the receipts:
[Last year, State Rep. Jay] Steagall initially presented the bill in terms of religious heritage, saying, “It is impossible to separate church from state.”
Steagall quickly changed course, though, and Monday pointed to language in HB 2085 that says “In God We Trust” is not meant to promote a particular religion.
Rep. Regina Goodwin, D-Tulsa, challenged that, noting the bill “does not say ‘In Buddha We Trust.”
She’s obviously right. This is a bill meant to promote Christian Nationalism. It’s completely unhelpful. It causes more problems while solving none. And conservative think it’s important because they’re utterly useless at governing.
(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Brian for the link. Large portions of this bill were published earlier)