SB224 And “In God We Trust” Instruction
Earlier this year, we sent a letter to Senator Eric LaFleur, chairman of the Finance Committee, a letter warning him about SB224. Today we have sent a letter to Senator Nancy Landry of the Louisiana Senate Education Committee warning her of the possible dangers of Senate Bill 224. SB224 reads as follows:
Not later than the 2019-2020 school year, the program of instruction on patriotic customs required by this Section shall include instruction on the national motto, “In God We Trust”, and each public school governing authority shall display the national motto in each building it uses and in each school under its jurisdiction.
Senate Bill 224 was recently accepted by the Louisiana Senate. This bill, sponsored by Senator Regina Barrow, requires schools to display the national motto “In God We Trust” in every school building. SB224 also requires that instruction is given on the motto. Introducing this bill opens your state to lawsuits for violating the separation of Church and State as dictated by the First Amendment.
Senator Barrow explicitly stated the intention behind SB 224 was to ensure that children receive a proper introduction to God, stating “we cannot assume that it’s necessarily always happening at home.” Senator Barrow has made it very clear that her reason for proposing this bill was to “acknowledge Him [God]” because she believes that “we have seen the moral decay or decline in our schools and in our community.” Introductions to God, religion, or theology, in general, are necessarily private matters in which the state has no vested interest. Senator Barrow’s statements and the supportive statements of her peers reveal a shocking and disconcerting desire for the state to interfere in the private religious lives of its citizens.
We caution against any actions that could lead to the adoption of SB224 into law. The stated intention behind SB224 brings with it the possibility of lengthy and costly lawsuits being brought against the state, municipalities, or school districts. Furthermore, SB224, as described by Senator Barrow, violates a core principle of the United States: the separation of church and state.