Well done, FCPS
Kudos to Fayette Superintendent Manny Caulk, who decided to display enlarged pictures of $1 bills showing the motto “In God We Trust”, a way for public schools to obey the new law (which requires schools to display the motto) and still avoid becoming cheerleaders for religious beliefs not shared by all.
The article reminded me of when I took my son to register for kindergarten in 1981 and was appalled to see that the Ten Commandments still hung in every classroom. The Ten Commandments law had been declared unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court. Yet in my rural school district, supporters cheered the school’s defiance and opponents did not dare speak up, afraid to endanger their child’s acceptance in school and wanting to be a part of their community despite differences. My husband refused to let our son enroll. No way, he said, would he send his child to a school that refused to obey its own country’s laws and Constitution. By the next school year, the plaques had been taken down, quietly.
Schools shouldn’t be forced to resort to tricks to obey the law and still respect minority views. The right to follow one’s own conscience is guaranteed in our Bill of Rights and is not determined by the majority. Children in public schools should not be pawns in these struggles.
Linda Kubala, Stamping Ground
Fayette County schools will now sport a framed back of a dollar bill in each school. It includes the national motto “In God We Trust”. So, are the schools subliminally teaching children to worship the almighty dollar?
Doug Fay, Bronston
Motto excludes other faiths
With the start of another academic year, every student is faced with the message that true Americans trust in God because state law now requires public schools to prominently display the national motto “In God We Trust”.
These laws are springing up nationwide and have nothing to do with patriotism and everything to do with promoting the false narrative that we are exclusively a Christian nation. It’s part of a larger campaign called Project Blitz, an initiative to dismantle the wall between government and religion.
Those pushing these bills pretend that “In God We Trust” has everything to do with our nation’s founding. It doesn’t. We didn’t even have an “official” national motto prior to 1956. Before that, “E Pluribus Unum” (Latin for “Out of Many, One”) served as our motto. Thomas Jefferson proposed it be secular in order to be completely inclusive. “In God We Trust” is anything but. Congress engendered it at the height of the Cold War, when the godless, Communist enemy loomed in the American psyche. The message sent to non-Christian students is clear: If you don’t trust in God, you’re not really American.
We have an obligation to put kids first and celebrate pluralism and diversity.
Kimberly Marshall, Lexington
Brilliant and silly
The answer to the Herald-Leader’s headline question, ‘Brilliant’ or ‘silly’?, in reference to using a dollar bill to comply with the “In God We Trust” law, is: Both. The framed dollar bill is a brilliant compliance with a silly law. Orchids to Fayette County Public Schools.
Carole Boyd, Lexington
‘Out of Many, One’
When I shared with a friend Fayette County schools’ brilliant solution to the requirement of posting “In God We Trust” on the school walls, she pointed out that by using a dollar bill we are also posting “E Pluribus Unum” at the same time. That special sentiment, “Out of Many, One,” is engraved on the scroll that is held in the mouth of the eagle on the Great Seal.
Although “E Pluribus Unum” was originally intended to signify the uniting of the 13 colonies (note the 13 letters in the phrase) into one nation, it has come to mean much more. We are a nation of almost innumerable different peoples who together make us strong, make us who we are.
It would be well, especially in the current anti-immigrant atmosphere of our administration, if our schools would concentrate on the message that we are a nation of immigrants, that we are all strengthened by our differences, and that it is only from the many that we have become one nation.
Robert S. Tannenbaum, Lexington