The U.S. national motto is now on display in a place of prominence in many Texas public schools, thanks to a new state law.
Senate Bill 797, which was actually passed during the 2021 legislative session, compels public elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, and institutions of higher learning to display “a durable poster or framed copy” of the motto “In God We Trust” “in a conspicuous place in each building of the school.”
The poster must also feature the American flag and the state flag of Texas. It also cannot contain any other “words, images, or other information.”
There is one major stipulation, however: The posters or framed copies must either be given to a school by a private donor or purchased by a school using funds “from private donations.”
And several Texas-based companies have happily obliged.
Patriot Mobile, a self-proclaimed “Christian conservative” wireless service provider based in Texas, has already furnished posters for every campus in the Carroll and Northwest Independent School Districts, among others. According to a company Facebook post, Patriot Mobile pledges to continue donating posters “until all the schools in the [Dallas/Fort Worth] area receive them.”
“We are honored to be part of bringing God back into our public schools!” the post continues.
Private individuals are also participating in the new law. According to CNN, one private resident has donated posters for Keller ISD, also near Forth Worth.
The law was initially proposed by Sen. Bryan Hughes, a Republican from East Texas. So far, he’s been pleased with the results.
“The national motto, In God We Trust, asserts our collective trust in a sovereign God,” Hughes wrote on Twitter earlier this week.
Bill co-sponsor Tom Oliverson, a Houston-area Republican state representative, is likewise optimistic about the displays.
“We just felt like it was a great opportunity to display our national motto in our public schools,” Oliverson said. “This was a idea I had after seeing something similar happen in a couple different states.”
Oliverson also told reporters that the public response he has received regarding the bill has been positive, according to Chron. However, the bill has some vocal detractors. The Southlake Anti-Racism Coalition has openly expressed its disapproval with the measure.
“SARC is 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,” the group said in a public statement.
Though the bill passed and was officially put into effect last September, parents, teachers, and schools were focused on re-opening after the COVID shutdown and didn’t really address the new law until this year, according to the Texas Tribune.