Alabama public schools are hoping to bring God back into their schools by displaying the US motto "In God We Trust" on school buildings.
In February, the Alabama legislature approved a new law allowing such displays on public property, and now is giving schools the right to exhibit the motto as well.
The national motto, approved by Congress in 1956, is already displayed in 17 public venues in Alabama, and the Blount County school board plans to be the first to implement the motto in its schools.
Officials say the legislation is not a mandate, like what was approved by Tennessee lawmakers this spring requiring the motto to be on display inside all public schools.
Republican state Rep. David Standridge, who sponsored the original legislation that took effect July 1, said it seemed like a better approach to make it permissive rather than a mandate.
Superintendent Rodney Green said the board is working on a policy on the issue that could be drafted within the next month.
"We're a diverse society and state and I just thought the local entities needed input," Standridge said. "They are kind of wanting to be the model, if you will, for any system that wants to go down this path."
It's national news! https://t.co/0uTL3SwXK9
— Rep David Standridge (@JudgeStandridge) August 13, 2018
This article talks about the "In God We Trust" Act that I had the honor to sponsor. Political correctness has gone too far if our schools are afraid to display our national motto. https://t.co/u2N54iaJUX
— Rep David Standridge (@JudgeStandridge) August 10, 2018
AL.com reports Alabama voters will also decide in November whether the state's 117-year-old constitution should be changed to allow public schools to display the Ten Commandments.
"My hope is they have the Ten Commandments in the schools all over the state of Alabama as well as the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the historical documents that go with this country," said Dean Young, chairman of the Ten Commandments Political Action Committee. "That way, children will be able to see and ask, 'What are these documents' and a teacher can say, 'Those are the Ten Commandments and they come from God and this is what they say.'"
Other states have failed in their efforts to display the Ten Commandments. A Pennsylvania high school had to remove a 6-foot Ten Commandments monument last year after the Freedom From Religion Foundation filed a federal lawsuit.
Young said several Christian legal groups are prepared for a legal battle with any schools that are sued over the issue.
Arkansas, Minnesota, Florida and Tennessee are other states that have similar laws regarding "In God We Trust" displays.