Public schools in Tennessee could be required to display the motto, “In God We Trust,” after state legislators unanimously passed a bill that would mandate schools to place the saying in a prominent location.
The measure requires that motto to be displayed either as a plaque, artwork or in some other form where it can be seen.
The bill passed both Republican controlled chambers, clearing the House in an 81-8 vote. It will take effect immediately if Republican Gov. Bill Haslam signs it.
He has not definitively said if he will sign it, but he did say that he has “never been one that thought that having a motto somewhere changes a lot of people’s thoughts.”
The legislation has been met with backlash over the legality of a government endorsing religion. But the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Susan Lynn, R-Mt. Juliet, says that because it’s the motto of the country, “faithless people” and “people of other faiths” shouldn’t be bothered by it.
“Our national motto and founding documents are the cornerstone of freedom, and we should teach our children about these things,” Lynn said.
“In God We Trust” became the national motto in 1956, and there are several states that have attempted to pass such legislation.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.