Action Alert

Tell Haslam “God” doesn’t belong in Tennessee schools!

Take action to halt the advancement of religion into Tennessee public schools!

A bill requiring all state schools to prominently display the national "In God We Trust" motto, SB 2661, is headed to the governor’s desk for his signature. Please, ask Gov. Bill Haslam to veto this theocratic bill to force-feed religion to students.

TAKE ACTION

There is no doubt that bills to place “In God We Trust” in public schools are intended to promote a religious message. Attempted justifications about the bill’s patriotic goals are merely a smokescreen for its true religious purpose. A third of U.S. students now identify as nonreligious. They do not trust in any god and do not need to be told to do so by their government. It’s inappropriate to promote a religious belief upon a captive audience of public school students, including those who are extremely young and impressionable.

FFRF has brought legal challenges to the phrase “In God We Trust,” both as the national motto and on currency, but the phrase has survived due to a legal fantasy that it is merely patriotic and has no religious significance (although the U.S. Supreme Court has never considered this question). ‘In God We Trust’ was unwisely adopted by Congress during the height of the Cold War, supplanting the original motto ‘E Pluribus Unum’ [Out of many, one], chosen by a distinguished committee of Franklin, Adams and Jefferson. That motto celebrates strength and unity through diversity. ‘In God We Trust’ would be appropriate in a theocracy, but is not an appropriate motto in a nation founded on a godless Constitution.

As FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor says, “To be accurate it would need to read, ‘In God Some of Us Trust,’ and wouldn’t that make a silly motto?”

If this bill is shamefully signed into law, FFRF will carefully monitor the divisiveness it creates and will ask students and parents to contact us over concerns.

TALKING POINTS

The bill is on its way to Gov. Haslam’s desk to be signed. Please contact the governor by going to this link or by calling 901-563-3205. Ask that he veto this un-American piece of legislation.

It is also important that you educate your fellow state citizens about this bill in letters to the editor or in posts on social media. Below we’ve included some talking points for you to include.

  • As a secular citizen of Tennessee, I am asking that the bill seeking to prominently place ‘In God We Trust’ in all public schools in Tennessee, SB 2661, be vetoed.
  • I’m part of “We the People” and I do not believe in God. Congress was wrong to adopt a motto that by definition excludes all nonbelieving citizens, now numbering almost a quarter of the adult population.
  • ‘In God We Trust’ was unwisely adopted by Congress during the height of the Cold War, supplanting the original motto ‘E Pluribus Unum’ [Out of many, one], chosen by a distinguished committee of Franklin, Adams and Jefferson. That motto celebrates strength and unity through diversity. ‘In God We Trust’ would be appropriate in a theocracy, but is not an appropriate motto in a nation founded on a godless constitution.
  • It’s inappropriate to promote a religious belief upon a captive audience of public school students, including those who are extremely young and impressionable. A third of U.S. students now identify as nonreligious. They do not trust in any god and do not need to be told to do so by their government.

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