Members of a House education committee are scheduled to consider a controversial bill Tuesday that would require public schools place the national motto—”In God We Trust”—in at least one “prominent” campus location.
House Bill 965—filed by four House Republicans—would also mandate placement of the state motto: “Esse quam videri,” or “To be, rather than to seem” in Latin.
Congress adopted the national motto in 1956, and its placement on U.S. currency has long been a sticking point for some. Meanwhile, the North Carolina motto was adopted by the state legislature in 1893.
According to the GOP proposal, which was co-sponsored by influential Cabarrus County Republican Linda Johnson, schools may place the motto in an “entry way, cafeteria, or other common area.”
One of the bill’s sponsors, Reidsville Republican Bert Jones, also wants to offer the option for motorists to receive license plates emblazoned with the state or national motto.
“Some are opposed to anything that mentions God, including the national motto, even if the plate is just an option,” Jones reportedly wrote in an email to The News & Observer last month.
Jones’ school proposal, however, spurred a quick backlash from the ACLU of N.C.
“When any students walks into school to learn, they should be greeted equally and with respect—not confronted with divisive and unnecessary displays that send a message to students of different religious views, or none at all, that they are second-class or not welcome,” ACLU spokesman Mike Meno said last month.
Tuesday’s meeting begins at 2 p.m. at the state’s Legislative Office Building.