A new Louisiana law went into effect last week requiring public schools to display the motto “In God We Trust” in all classrooms.
The law, known as HB 8, was signed by Gov. John Bel Edwards in June and amends a previous version passed in 2018. Previously, the national motto was just required to be in school buildings, not every classroom.
The law doesn’t require schools to fund the purchase for the displays. “An institution or management board may spend its funds or donated funds to purchase such displays and may accept donated displays,” the law makes clear.
In accordance with the new law, the national motto must be displayed “on a poster or framed document that is at least 11 inches by 14 inches.”
In addition, the motto must “be the central focus of the poster or framed document and shall be printed in a large, easily readable font.”
Despite complaints of critics such as A’Niya Robinson, advocacy strategist at the ACLU of Louisiana, the law doesn’t infringe on the First Amendment’s prohibition against the government’s establishment of religion, the bill’s author Rep. Dodie Horton argues, since the motto doesn’t promote any one religion.
“It doesn’t preach any particular religion at all, but it certainly does recognize a higher power,” Horton said according to CNN. “It’s a positive message in this world that throws so many negative things at our children.”
Louisiana is one of eight states that require the national motto to be displayed in public schools, including Florida, Mississippi and Kentucky.