FRANKFORT, Ky. (CBS Local) — A bill that would require public schools in Kentucky to display “In God We Trust” has passed the state House of Representatives.
Lawmakers approved House Bill 46 on Wednesday by a vote of 72-25, the Associated Press reported.
The bill would require public elementary and secondary schools to display the national motto in a prominent location beginning with the 2019-20 school year. It defines “prominent location” as a school entry way, cafeteria, or common area where students are likely to see it.
There are no penalties if schools don’t comply, the AP reports, but someone could sue to force them to do it.
“There is no reason for us to be ashamed of our national motto; it is a vital part of our culture,” said the bill’s lead sponsor, Republican Representative Brandon Reed, a Christian minister from Hodgenville.
Rev. Jason Crosby, a Baptist minister from Louisville who said he was on the board of the ACLU, opposed the bill, saying it “sends a thinly veiled message that only students who believe in God are welcome at their school,” the Lexington Herald Reader reported.
The phrase “In God We Trust” became the national motto in 1956 during the height of the Cold War as a way to differentiate the U.S. from the officially atheist regime in the Soviet Union.