I wonder how many schools displayed the National Motto in a “conspicuous place” after the Legislature authorized this in 2021. This year the Legislature expanded the scope of Texas Education Code 1.004 to enable teachers to display the Motto in the classroom.
The general rule about classroom displays is that they are not the teacher’s First Amendment Free Speech Zone. It’s public school property, and as such, is subject to the control of school district rules, restrictions, and regulations. But this new law guarantees that school administrators cannot prohibit a teacher from displaying the National Motto in the classroom.
There are still some rules, however. The Motto has to be in a poster or frame that includes a depiction of the U.S. flag “centered under the national motto.” It also has to include the Texas flag but that does not have to be “centered under” the motto. I guess that means it could be above the motto, beside it, or off center. Texans who cherish their sovereignty will no doubt delight in that freedom of choice. We would never be content being consigned to a place “centered under” the motto. Hrumph.
The other rule is that the poster or framed copy may not “depict any words, images, or other information.” Just the Motto, which BTW, is: IN GOD WE TRUST.
If you think that this is a non-controversial piece of legislation you are, perhaps, not aware of the history. “In God We Trust” was not always our motto. Congress made it the motto in 1956, which is about the same time that the words “under God” were added to the Pledge. This was the height of the Cold War and these two moves were specifically designed to distinguish the United States from “godless Communism.”
From the beginning there have been those who see the Motto as an effort to instill the idea that America is a Christian nation, thus marginalizing others. Sort of like consigning them to a designated place “centered under” the words of the Motto. So don’t be surprised if this one stirs up some controversy in your community.
DAWG BONE: IN GOD WE TRUST, WITH THE U.S. FLAG CENTERED UNDER THOSE WORDS, WHILE THE TEXAS FLAG FLIES FREE! SOVEREIGNTY!
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