Kansas GOPs push bill to make ‘In God We Trust’ signs mandatory in every public building, classroom and school library but critics argue it’s a step toward harsher anti-LGBTQ and anti-abortion measures

Sunday, February 2, 2020
By Paul Martin

Kansas state Rep. Michael Capps, testified during a committee hearing in favor of his bill to require the national motto of ‘In God We Trust’ to be posted in public
Wichita Republican said Thursday he wants the motto as a durable poster or framed picture, at least 11 inches by 14 inches, with American and Kansas flags
Capps said it wasn’t too much having it in every classroom and library, as ‘every classroom has had an American flag in it. We don’t consider that to be overkill’
Atheists organization said it would stigmatize nonbelievers and religious minorities and be a step toward harsher anti-LGBTQ and anti-abortion measures
Capps argued: ‘Does having the reference to God in the Kansas state constitution make every atheist feel second-class?’
Congress adopted it as the national motto in the 1950s, and Capps said it echoes words in the national anthem and the Declaration of Independence
Eight states require schools to display the national motto, and mandates in Kentucky, Louisiana and South Dakota started this school year

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
DAILYMAIL.COM
2 February 2020

Conservative Republicans are pushing for a law requiring government buildings and schools across Kansas to post the national motto of ‘In God We Trust,’ an idea critics say is part of a broader effort by the Christian right to promote their religious beliefs in public life.

A Kansas House committee heard testimony Thursday on a bill sponsored by 13 GOP lawmakers – led by Kansas state Rep. Michael Capps – that would, among other things, require all public school classrooms and libraries to post the motto.

The national American Atheists organization said such a law would stigmatize nonbelievers and religious minorities and represent a step toward harsher anti-LGBTQ and anti-abortion measures.

Nick Fish, president of American Atheists, said in a statement: ‘This bill has nothing to do with educating Kansas students. It’s clear some lawmakers care more about forcing a religious message into school classrooms than teaching the facts.’

Wichita Republican Capps, the bill’s lead sponsor, said the motto should be displayed to acknowledge the nation’s ‘history and founding principles.’

Congress adopted ‘In God We Trust’ as the national motto in the 1956 at the approval of President Dwight Eisenhower, but Capps said the phrase echoes words in the national anthem and the Declaration of Independence.

His bill specifies either a durable poster or framed picture with the motto, at least 11 inches by 14 inches, with American and Kansas flags.

Under the measure, the motto must be posted as soon as schools, colleges, cities and counties receive donations, either of ‘durable’ posters or money to cover the costs.

It drew immediate opposition from Democrats, and even one conservative Republican expressed concern about the bill’s scope.

The bill mirrors model legislation promoted by some conservative Christian groups.

The hearing Thursday tapped briefly into longstanding tensions between people who want to keep government from promoting religious beliefs and those who argue that faith’s role in public life has been narrowed too much.

American churches also are wrestling with a rise in the number of Americans with no religious affiliation.

‘These bills are not innocuous. They’re part of a larger strategy,’ said American Atheists spokesman Tom Van Denburgh. ‘A lot of these campaigns are focusing on children. I mean, if you put ‘In God We Trust’ in schools, you’re trying to essentially indoctrinate them.’

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