National Motto Greets Students Under New Texas Regulation

Law applies to donated, framed posters, which are arriving at campuses
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 21, 2022 10:35 AM CDT
National Motto Greets Students Under New Texas Regulation
South Park Elementary in Rapid City, S.D., displays the national motto in 2019.   (Adam Fondren/Rapid City Journal via AP)

(Newser) – A new Texas law removes any doubt about the issue: So long as they're framed and donated, "In God We Trust" posters must be displayed in a "conspicuous place" in public schools. The law was enacted last year but wasn't in evidence, the Texas Tribune reports, during the pandemic chaos. But now posters are arriving at schools in time for the new school year, sent by organizations and individuals, and going up. One district near Fort Worth said a resident donated enough posters for every one of its buildings. Each poster has been duly installed in a conspicuous place, the district told CNN, "which is the front office reception area for most of our campuses."

There are objections. One came from the Southlake Anti-Racism Coalition. Southlake is a Dallas suburb roiled by a backlash over implementing a diversity plan, as discussed in an NBC News podcast. The coalition said it's "disturbed by the precedent displaying these posters in every school will set and the chilling effect this blatant intrusion of religion in what should be a secular public institution will have on the student body, especially those who do not practice the dominant Christian faith." Every district school received several of the signs from Patriot Mobile, a Texas cellphone provider that says it's the nation's "only Christian conservative wireless provider."

In making the donation to the Carroll Independent School District, Patriot said its mission is to "glorify God always." A Facebook post said the company is "honored to be part of bringing God back into our public schools!" Other donors include the Yellow Rose of Texas Republican Women and the Northwest Austin Republican Women's Club. A parent in one district said the phrase is the national motto—it was adopted by Congress in 1956—and doesn't espouse any particular religion. Though the law in effect allows a single person to decide whether the phrase will be displayed in a school, Erik Leist said: "If it's important to communities, the community will come behind it. If it's not something that the community values, it's not gonna end up in the school." (Read more In God We Trust stories.)

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