July/August 2018 Church & State Magazine - July/August 2018

Louisiana Governor Signs ‘In God We Trust’ Bill

  Rokia Hassanein

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) in late May signed into law SB 224, a bill that requires the words “In God We Trust” to be displayed in every public school. The measure also mandates that public schools teach students about the motto by fifth grade.

Americans United opposed the measure. As AU ex­plained, promoting religion in public schools violates not only the separation of church and state, but even more broadly, the religious-freedom rights of students and parents.

AU noted that Louisiana families and students practice a variety of faiths or none at all. The group asserted that public schools should respect that diversity and not promote belief in God or any other set of religious beliefs.

But many of Louisiana’s state legislators felt differently. A bill backer, state Sen. Regina Barrow (D-Baton Rouge), claimed that such signs will help address “moral decay” in public schools, and added that some students may not learn about the “patriotic history and founding of this country” at home.

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