Outrage over ‘In God We Trust’ signs in schools is predictable


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On Monday, school board members in the Carroll school district rejected donations of “In God We Trust” signs that displayed that phrase with the rainbow flag and colors and another with that phrase in Arabic, stating that the district already had signs donated.

Last year, Gov. Greg Abbott signed a law that mandated schools display one “In God We Trust” sign in school buildings if they are donated and meet specific requirements. On Twitter, state Sen. Bryan Hughes, Mineola Republican who co-signed the law mandating such signs, wrote that the new donations didn’t comply with the law. A debate has ensued.

It’s not clear why a law like this was necessary or how it’s helpful to children learning in schools. While it’s obviously our nation’s motto, which reflects the Judeo-Christian beliefs of many of the founders, a Texas law mandating such signs in schools seems superfluous; it’s on our nation’s money for goodness’ sake. Now, of course, it has garnered unnecessary attention because of the law of unintended consequences, which seems to apply to anything that could be deemed overtly political or controversial.

Sravan Krishna presented the shunned signs to the school board. He believes their design complied with the state law. “We were hoping that they would accept our donation and make us feel included as part of this community as workers, taxpayers and citizens,” Krishna said. “This is very clearly a very discriminatory and bigoted action against others in the community that are not Christian nationalists.”

His signs and the outrage, specifically labeling the board’s rejection “bigoted” are off-base. His reaction and those who agree with him demonstrates just how far inclusivity culture has gone — even to schools in Southlake. Because of the era we live in, it is not inclusive enough to hang a plain poster with just the nation’s motto — a nod to our history.

Now, any poster without overt demonstrations of inclusivity must be bigoted and exclusive and therefore must be made to include everyone: By everyone, this means the LGBTQ community and apparently anyone who speaks Arabic. (It’s hard to say why a sign with the phrase “In God We Trust” in Arabic was submitted to a school in Texas where English and Spanish are the primary languages spoken.) If all inclusivity were the goal, why were no signs drawn up to include “In God We Trust” with references to Judaism, Catholicism, feminism, Republicans, Democrats, atheists, cowboys, or any other loud, large faction of people who reside in Texas?

Not everything must be inclusive and not everything can be: Sometimes exclusivity has a purpose or intent, whether it be a phrase, a place, or an event. This is true of the phrase “In God We Trust,” which is meant to relay reliance on a higher being, particularly in times of crisis, like the Civil War. Our country’s history includes hundreds of similar nods to God. This is not bigoted nor should it be offensive. Belief in God is the framework for Christianity, the largest religion in America.

The issue with this determined, purposeful, push for every thing to be inclusive in schools — from signs to bathrooms to pronouns — is that it erases original meaning and implies bigotry where there is none. It’s not bigoted to allow only girls to use the girls restroom; it’s safe and practical. It is not bigotry to say “In God We Trust” especially when that very motto is printed on the money we use.

It may not have been altogether necessary for the Texas Legislature to pass a law that mandates schools have an “In God We Trust” sign in their building, but nor is it a violation of the separation of church and state to do so either. The United States was founded on Judeo-Christian beliefs and orthodox views are just that — they are not exclusionary nor hateful; they are traditional. For once, let them be.

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Nicole Russell is a writer and mother of four who has covered law, politics and cultural issues for The Washington Examiner, The Daily Signal, The Atlantic and The New York Post. She was voted “most argumentative” in high school and is proud to have discovered that being an opinion writer in Texas was way cheaper and more exciting than getting a law degree anywhere else.

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