NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee lawmakers have passed a bill to require public schools to prominently display the national motto, “In God We Trust.”
It would take effect immediately if Republican Gov. Bill Haslam signs it. The legislation passed the Senate unanimously and cleared the House in an 81-8 vote, with both chambers controlled by Republicans.
The measure requires schools to display the motto in a prominent location, either as a plaque, artwork, or in some other form.
Whether this motto represents an unconstitutional government endorsement of religion is a question that has invited legal challenges in other states with similar laws.
But the bill’s sponsor, Republican Rep. Susan Lynn, says the bill shouldn’t bother “faithless people” and “people of other faiths” because it’s the motto of the country.
“Our national motto and founding documents are the cornerstone of freedom and we should teach our children about these things,” Lynn said.
Haslam said he’ll look at the legislation when it hits his desk, but added that “at the end of the day, I’ve never been one that thought that having a motto somewhere changes a lot of people’s thoughts.”