By Cole Lauterbach
Illinois News Network
SPRINGFIELD – A freshman Illinois lawmaker wants to allow public schools to publicly display the motto “In God We Trust,” something church-state separation advocates say alienates nonreligious students.
One of the first bills Lewisville Republican state Rep. Darrin Bailey filed after taking office this month was House Bill 341, which says a school board can allow the national motto “In God We Trust” to be conspicuously posted on school grounds. Bailey says the current political climate shows a need for a return to Christian principles.
“As a God-fearing Christian, I believe that the lack of such is the problem in our country today,” he said.
His bill would not make displaying the national motto mandatory.
The Freedom from Religion Foundation wants to keep the motto out of public schools. The organization and others say it alienates nonreligious students.
Lawmakers in Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, Tennessee, and North Carolina have recently voted to require or allow the motto to be posted in public schools.
State Sen. Sam McCann proposed a nonbinding resolution affirming “in God we trust” as the national motto and encouraged its use in Illinois.
Sheriff’s deputies in nearby Jefferson County had placed donated decals with the motto on their squad cars in 2015.