Representative Dodie Horton wants In God We Trust displayed in every Louisiana classroom

Greg Hilburn
Lafayette Daily Advertiser

A Louisiana lawmaker has filed a bill to require an "In God We Trust" sign displayed in every public school classroom.

Republican Haughton state Rep. Dodie Horton said displaying the national motto "sends an important message to our children as a sign of hope."

Legislators will consider Horton's House Bill 8 when they convene for the Regular Session beginning April 10. Lawmakers began pre-filing bills this month.

Louisiana already passed a law in 2018 by Democratic state Sen. Regina Barrow requiring the motto be placed at every public school, but Horton said it doesn't go far enough.

"The signs are up usually near the office, but I've asked my grandkids if they've ever seen it and they said no," Horton said. "But they will see these in their classrooms."

The 84th Congress passed a joint resolution declaring "In God We Trust" the national motto of the United States" in 1956 without debate. It was signed by President Eisenhower. "I really like the history behind it," she said.

Horton dismissed any potential concerns about separation of church and state, though she said a Buddhist did call her office with concerns.

"It's our national motto; it's on our money," she said.

Though Horton is a Christian, she said the motto doesn't promote a specific religion.

"I'm not asking you to accept my God or pushing religion on anyone," she said. "I just want children to see that there is a creator. I don't see it as a controversial bill."

Barrow expressed a similar argument for her bill, which sailed through the Legislature and was signed by Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards.

The motto In God We Trust has been on paper currency for 60 years. Ricardo Reitmeyer (courtesy)

"We're not pushing God on anybody; we're incorporating it as part of the history of our nation," Barrow said then in an interview with USA Today Network. "It's our national motto, for goodness sake. If it's good enough to be on our money, it's good enough to be in our schools."

Horton's bill doesn't require schools to buy signs, but requires a minimum of displaying the motto on a piece of paper.

The bill allows the school to accept donations from churches or other organizations. Horton said she believes corporate partners like Hobby Lobby, well-known for its promotion of Christianity, would offer discounts for the displays.

Greg Hilburn covers Louisiana politics for the USA Today Network. Follow him on Twitter @GregHilburn1.