Florida lawmakers may be looking to pass a bill that requires public schools to display their state motto. And, no, it's not about oranges or gators; it's "In God We Trust."
This morning at 9 a.m. State Representative Kimberly Daniels presented a #CFC #Florida bill to display our state motto "In God We Trust" at every public school across the state.— CFC Florida Official (@cfcoalitionfl) January 23, 2018
Rep. Daniels did it! The bill passed the House Education Committee with unanimously. #InGodWeTrust pic.twitter.com/jQZtuYRylf
The bill that proposes the idea is House Bill 839, and it has some pretty impressive support after it received a unanimous approval from the House PreK-12 Innovation Subcommittee. Even more surprising, HB 839 is getting hefty praise from both Republicans and Democrats.
Some representatives think that passing the bill will be a good lesson about the state's motto.
"You have to ask yourself, why would anyone not want a motto that is so positive for our children displayed," state Rep. Kimberly Daniels asked.
Rep. Ralph Massullo voiced his support for the bill, stating that all students whether private or public, should know about Florida's history, with a part of that history being "we do trust in God."
Rep. Larry Lee also stepped forward to voice his support of the bill, stating that the nation was "built on God." He also claimed that the bill is coming at a great time since he said that many young people are no longer attending church.
"We're taking God out of everything," he stated.
While the bill has had support and praise on both sides of the political spectrum, not all are on board, citing that displaying "In God We Trust" could place religious pressure on those who do not believe in God.
Well isn't this just unconstitutional... https://t.co/OHkf7q2rps— Center for Inquiry (@center4inquiry) January 25, 2018
"While I respect everyone's right to a religion and their beliefs, it's important that school children are not forced to adopt religion, and that is part of the reason for going to public schools," Marie Parmer of Tampa explained. "I think this bill is ill-advised. The state of Florida has a lot of very serious issues that the state is facing that the legislature should be spending their time on."
Parmer makes an excellent point here. State motto aside, many families make the decision to send their children to public schools to avoid a religious education. To suddenly require that Florida public school students be exposed to religious statements is a gross violation of this.
It IS our nation’s motto, and all, but I’m not sure that God really intends the government to force people to believe in Him.— Steve Parks (@Ipaddlecanoe) January 25, 2018
Separation of church and state. Unless public schools become private, charter or religion based schools that saying has no place.— Noel Elizabeth (@NoEllie85) January 24, 2018
Furthermore, any Florida representative who says "We're taking God out of everything" must be slightly confused about what era they are in. Separation of church and school, in addition to separation of church and state, has long existed in this country and is a vital aspect of religious freedom.
Florida public school students already see "In God We Trust" daily as it is written on the state flag. If they wanted to be exposed to any more religious statements, then they'd probably be enrolled at a religious school.
It's just something for the Florida representatives to keep in mind.
Banner/thumbnail credit: Flickr, daniel zimmel