Ground is being staked out in Oklahoma for the Christian nature of U.S. government, with the state House of Representatives passing a bill on March 3 that would require “In God We Trust,” the national motto of the United States, to be posted in all state buildings, KOCO News 5 reports.
House Bill 3817, filed by House Speaker Charles McCall, directs that the national motto of the U.S. be prominently displayed in all state buildings with the exception of schools.
There are of course objections. The proposal of “plastering” the motto on every public building in Oklahoma is “exclusionary,” according to Tim Ward of American Atheists, and sends a “harmful message to atheists, agnostics, Buddhists, Hindus, and other polytheists that they are unwelcome in Oklahoma.”
McCall said he filed the bill in a nod to state history, not as a religious declaration. The bill even spells out that, “the display of the national motto shall not be construed to mean that the State of Oklahoma favors any particular religion or denomination thereof over others.”
It does, however, direct the Office of the Attorney General to defend the state if frivolous suits are filed challenging the motto, officials said.
“It is important for government to acknowledge history and project the values that make America great. ‘In God We Trust’ is on buildings, currency and more across America because it is our motto and an important part of our history and founding principles,” McCall said in a statement to KOCO.
The Oklahoma House on Tuesday passed the bill 76-20. The bill now goes to the Senate, and if signed into law will take effect on Nov. 1.