Missouri’s 2019 HB274, U.S. Official Motto

As many of my regular readers know, I am an advocate for the absolute separation of church and state. This includes, but is not limited to, the use of God, any god, as a propaganda tool for the United States. Christian nationalism is on the rise and we as secular humanists must put a stop to it now.

So when Missouri state representative Mike Moon (R-157) pre-filed HB 274 which would create “new provisions related to the display of posters containing representations of the Missouri state flag and other items in public schools,” it caught my interest. Reading the summary of the proposed law, I was disheartened to find that it would require schools to have a poster of the “United States motto and a picture of both the United States and Missouri flags, to the extent they receive sufficient donations to do so” hanging in every classroom and school library in the state. 

Now, I am not against the U.S. Motto, if it was the original suggested by John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. For about 140 years, the de facto motto of the United States was E Pluribus Unum, “Out of Many, One.”

Why de facto? Though ordered by the Continental Congress, it was never formally recognized by the Federal Congress. That happened during the height of the Cold War in 1956 to differentiate the “godless commies” from the “God-fearing” United States. We did not see it regularly on our money until 1957.

The purpose of Moon’s proposed law is to push the idea that the United States is a Christian nation. Many conservative Christians point to the Motto as proof that the United States was founded as a Christian nation. Our Constitution was written as a secular document, mentioning religion only twice, once stating that no religious test shall be administered to hold an elected or appointed office and again in the First Amendment. There is no mention of God, Jesus or Christ in the document or the Amendments.

Missouri is not the only state seeking this type of recognition of Christianity as the state religion. South and North Carolina, Tennessee and Utah have proposed or passed laws making the Christian faith the “official” faith of the states by means of requiring the Official Motto displayed in classrooms throughout the respective states.

Like the motto showing up on police and sheriff cars, it is an apparent violation of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause and must be stopped by any means necessary.

David Rosman is an award-winning editor, columnist and speaker. His book, A Christian Nation? An examination of Christian nation theories and proofs, is available on Amazon.com


About David Rosman

David is the winner of the Missouri Press Foundation's "Best Columnist" in 2013 (First Place) and 2014 (Second Place), the 2016 Harold Riback Award for excellence in writing, and the winner of the 2007 Interactive Media Award for excellence in editing.
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