Cranford, NJ—Today, American Atheists submitted testimony opposing two “In God We Trust” display bills. Kentucky’s HB 46 and Indiana’s SB 373 would trample religious liberty by forcing public schools to display this Judeo-Christian language.
Kentucky’s “In God We Trust” Display Bill
Specifically, Kentucky’s HB 46 would require schools to display “In God We Trust” in a prominent location in schools. Not only would this bill force non-believing students to view this religious message daily, it would further stigmatize children of no faith or minority faiths. As a result, bullying and harassment would likely increase.
Just as bad, Kentucky taxpayer dollars would be wasted on defending this unnecessary and divisive law. KY’s education dollars should go toward educating students, not supporting religious messages by special interests.
Indiana’s “In God We Trust” Display and Creationism Bill
Indiana’s SB 373 is even worse than HB 46. SB 373 would force public schools to display “In God We Trust” in each and every classroom.
SB 373 goes further than HB 46 in three additional and disturbing ways:
- School districts could teach creation science or other so-called “theories concerning the origin of life” instead of legitimate science. Courts have repeatedly made clear that teaching creation science is religious indoctrination, and therefore such a curriculum is inherently unconstitutional.
- Schools would encourage students to attend religious instruction and receive educational credit. This is a clear violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
- Schools could not infringe “parental rights” on what is taught. This concept is so vague and the legal protections so uncertain that it would result in an unworkable educational system and a host of unintended consequences.
“This bill is shockingly unconstitutional. We hope that lawmakers in Indiana are wise enough to halt this roiling mess of poorly conceived ideas, religious coercion, and unintended consequences before it becomes law,” wrote Alison Gill, Vice President for Legal and Policy.
Christian Nationalism and Project Blitz
Both bills are part of Project Blitz, a multi-state campaign by Christian nationalists to promote the false narrative that America was founded as a Christian nation. American Atheists is leading the charge against Project Blitz with its BlitzWatch campaign.