LINCOLN, Neb. (KMTV) — Should schools be mandated to put the words 'In God We Trust' in every school building?
Senator Steve Erdman thinks it’s a good idea. “It’s not something that we see on a daily basis and that has been left out. We have it in almost every courthouse in the state,” said Erdman. Erdman, who represents parts of Western Nebraska, wants the words of the national motto in a prominent place in the school or every classroom.
Supporters point to the words being in the later verses of the Star Spangled Banner, saying it’s a part of our history.
“I do believe we need to keep our history in the public schools. And uphold our history, the true history of our country,” said Mary Hamilton, who spoke in support of the bill.
Multiple senators in the Education Committee had questions, including Terrell McKinney, who wondered about how people in other religions would take this.
“If I’m in Islamic, should we say in Allah we trust as well?" asked McKinney.
“That’s not the national motto, the national motto is ‘In God We Trust,'"said Erdman. Erdman said the words are not a statement of Christianity or any other religion, about which some senators seemed skeptical.
Senator Patty Pansing Brooks believes it should only happen if there’s an asterisk next to the motto.
“I mean unless we have some little asterisks that says not a statement of faith, but of history. It’s going to be taken as a statement of religion,” said Pansing Brooks. The bill also calls for the Nebraska Attorney General to defend the schools if sued. Colby Coash, who represents school districts, spoke in opposition to the bill. He said the decision should be left up to the schools and not mandated by the state. However, he did say some schools are looking to do this already.
“The reason some have not done it already is the fear of litigation,” said Coash. A similar bill was introduced two years ago but failed to get out of committee. Many states such as Tennessee and South Dakota have passed similar legislation.