(CNSNews.com) -- An Amendment to an omnibus education policy bill in the Minnesota State Senate, which would allow the national motto “In God We Trust” to be voluntarily displayed in Minnesota schools, passed last week on a 38-29 vote.
The Amendment, introduced by Sen. Dan Hall (R) states: (a) To the extent funds or in-kind contributions are available under paragraph (b), a school board may prominently display in a conspicuous place in each school an easily readable durable poster, framed copy, or mounted plaque of the national motto of the United States, "In God We Trust."
In addition, the amendment says, "A school board may accept nonpublic funds or in-kind contributions to implement this section."
"It seems like God and Country are no longer lifted in places of honor,” said Sen. Hall. “Too often God and Country are seen as subjects of jokes or ridicule."
“Our national motto can bring us back to a freedom of faith, even in our schools," he said. “This amendment allows our U.S. national motto ‘In God We Trust’ back on the walls of our schools, as a reminder of hope and tolerance."
Several members of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party voiced their opposition to the amendment.
“I think it would send a fairly strong and unmistakable signal to young people of a variety of different religious perspectives and beliefs, that their perspective, their belief, their presence in that particular building when they’re greeted by a sign like this is not tolerated, is not respected,” said Sen. Scott Dibble (D).
Dibble offered an amendment to Hall’s amendment which replaces “God” with “Yahweh,” or the term for God in the Jewish religion. Dibble’s amendment was defeated in a voice vote.
Sen. Melisa Franzen (D) also spoke against Hall’s amendment, saying, "I believe there is a place for religious sentiments and religious slogans and monuments and so forth, and that should be the privacy of our own homes, not in the public sphere of our agencies, in particular not our schools."
“We might do better frankly if the parents taught the values … in their own homes and if they had their children attend their religious institutions, which for my standpoint is the place where religious values ought to be taught, not in the schools.” said Democratic Sen. Ron Latz.
“I oppose the posting of that motto in our schools…I even would strongly make the case that we ought not to have that motto, something we can’t change, on our money,” Sen. John Marty said. “The money I carry in my wallet has to say ‘In God We Trust.’ I think that’s offensive.”
The entire bill, SF 3086, passed in the Minnesota Senate on a 42-25 vote and has currently been referred to the Education Finance Committee in the Minnesota House of Representatives.