WASHINGTON POST – A week after the school massacre in Parkland, Fla., when grief-stricken students demanded action at the state Capitol, Rep. Kimberly Daniels took to the floor to promote a measure she said had been inspired by God, who she said spoke to her in a dream.
God “is the light. And our schools need light in them like never before,” the Jacksonville Democrat said Feb. 21. “It is not a secret that we have some gun issues that need to be addressed. But the real thing that needs to be addressed are issues of the heart.”
Her proposal? Ensuring every Florida public school student is educated in a building where “In God We Trust” — the national and Florida state motto — is prominently posted. The bill passed and was signed into law.
Florida is one of seven states this year that passed laws requiring or permitting schools and other public buildings to post “In God We Trust.” Arkansas passed a similar measure in 2017, and Arizona this year allowed schools to post in English the state’s motto, which appears in Latin on the state seal: “God Enriches.”
Annie Gaylor, who leads an organization that fights to remove religious references from public spaces, said the motto has “an exclusionary message” that favors the religious over the nonreligious.
“They’re using it as a weapon to proselytize to schoolchildren,” said Gaylor, co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
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