February 2023 Church & State Magazine - February 2023

South Carolina Public Schools Must Display ‘In God We Trust’


A new law in South Carolina mandates that public schools display the national motto of “In God We Trust.” 

Previously, public schools had been permitted to display the motto. Under the terms of the new law, it’s required. Schools must also post signs displaying two state mottos as well — “Dum Spiro Spero” (“While I Breathe, I Hope”) and “Animis Opibusque Parati” (“Prepared In Mind And Resources”). 

The law requiring placement of the mottos was passed after a campaign led by a Christian Nationalist group called the South Carolina Family Caucus and others, reported the Charleson Post and Courier. The newspaper reported that the law does not specify the size of the mottos but says they must be “prominently” displayed.

Motto mania: ‘In God We Trust’ comes to S.C. schools

“We had a vision, and the vision was that we could organize Christian conservatives that were in the legislature to have a bigger voice than what they had,” state Rep. John McCravy (R-Greenwood), told the Post and Courier.

Americans United said the new law is misguided, pointing out that it excludes some children.

“They are taught to believe whatever their schools and teachers tell them, and they are prone to feel left out when they don’t follow the majority,” said Rachel Laser, president and CEO of Americans United. 

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