In God We Trust on Dollar Bill
The words ‘In God We Trust’ are technically on the dollar bill- albeit, not terribly prominently.

If they didn’t pay attention to the news over the summer, Kentucky students are in for a Biblical surprise upon their return to the classroom this fall. As a result of legislation passed in the General Assembly, every public school in Kentucky must display the words ‘In God We Trust’ somewhere on school grounds beginning this school year. The law, which passed 72-25, makes Kentucky the ninth state to require the national motto be posted in schools.

But not everyone is on board. While most schools are complying without issue, some districts are finding creative ways to push back against the state’s demand.

In Snark We Trust

The Fayette County Public School District in Lexington made national news with their creative protest against the new law. Some schools opted for giant posters scrawled with the required national motto. Some directed students to paint those words on the walls of every last school in the district. However, Fayette County simply sent each school a framed copy of the enlarged back of a crisp one-dollar bill. While technically in compliance with the law, it’s clear the school district intends to make a statement.

Rep. Brandon Reed, the Christian evangelist who sponsored the bill last August, was not impressed.

“It is extremely disappointing to see Fayette County Public Schools spend time searching for silly loopholes to a law that passed with broad support from both Democrats and Republicans and received over 70 votes in the House of Representatives. Instead of empowering students by allowing them to create artwork displaying our national motto, Fayette County has instead chosen to play political games and deprive students of that opportunity. Our national motto is prominently displayed in other public institutions, and is something to be proud of, not ashamed.”

The ‘Almighty’ Dollar

FCPS Superintendent Manny Caulk responded to that statement with maximum snark. He praised the “spirit of bipartisanship” that produced such monumental legislation. Then he wondered aloud if Kentucky’s 1,466 public schools might also benefit from reversing decades of underfunded public education and expanding full-day kindergarten.

American Atheists In God We Trust Free Poster
American Atheists is offering this poster for free to any school districts that would like it.

As for the dollar bill bit, Reed chose to play the student-of-history card.

“Our actions are not part of a political game as Rep. Reed suggested. We have taken our lead from the members of the 84th United States Congress, who passed a joint resolution on July 11, 1955 determining that the most appropriate and enduring placement of the national motto was on all U.S. currency and coins. How can that display, used daily in commerce, be acceptable and ours considered unfortunate and silly?”

Teaching a Lesson

It’s crystal clear Caulk took advantage of a law that wasn’t well thought out. Future legislators, take note: If you’re going to require schools display the national motto, make sure you specify the size, location, and design of these signs.

Worse than a dollar bill, The Fayette County Public Schools could have settled on framed images of a shiny penny, perhaps even a stamp. The words ‘In God We Trust’ could have also been written out on some cafeteria wall in glow-in-the-dark marker, so that it’d only be visible when the lights went out. They could even display the fact-based poster available free from American Atheists.

This isn’t the first time the phrase has caused problems. In fact, activists have been trying to remove the phrase from our currency for years. What do you think? Is the dollar bill loophole a bit of clever tongue-in-cheek protesting? Or is the school’s snarky circumvention an exercise in wasting time?

16 comments

  1. Bill phillips says:

    It is very sad that we as America’s, have kicked The God of the Universe, out of our class Rooms and lifes really Sad, we will paid for this. . It is coming too.

    1. T'Keren Valmaz says:

      You seem very confused. it is very very clear in the oldest versions of the texts relating to the so called god of Abraham that he did not create the universe, it actually doesnt even credit him with making our solar system. Nor does it say it is the only god. just that to be faithful to it you must forsake all other gods. This relates to the fact that at that time most people prayed to any deity they felt relevant to their current issues. It was a direct attack on the much older and wide spread faiths practiced by those like the greeks who had a vast pantheon. Monotheism was basically the first attempt at creating a one world order, which ironically so many so called christians today seem to fear even though that is the goal of their faith.

  2. Chris says:

    I think it’s both a clever protest and a waste of time. The motto should never have been changed in the first place. E Pluribus Unum is what this country was founded on and we have gotten so far away from that it’s pathetic. Especially when people like this Rep. Reed don’t even actually practice what they preach, or don’t preach what they claim to practice.

    This is not now, nor has it ever been, nor was it ever intended to be, a Christian nation. Sure, the motto doesn’t specify which particular god it’s referring to. Ask any “Christian”, however, and they’ll be more than happy to tell you it’s theirs. Doesn’t matter what anyone else believes.

    I just can’t help but laugh at how delicate and easily offended such people are. If their faith and their god is indeed so strong they shouldn’t feel the need to force their beliefs onto others. Simply living their beliefs would be a better witness than making it law. But hey, that’s my opinion.

  3. Russ Parish says:

    An excellent way to comply with the letter of the law. Are the cultural warriors so threatened that they must legislate their version of patriotism? Good for you, Fayette County Public School District, for pointing out the silliness of the law.

  4. Karen Snizek says:

    Well done Fayette County Public School District and a fine example to others. All Hail Thor

  5. Lionheart says:

    Fayette County seem to me to have their act together. Pity they couldn’t have found something smaller than a dollar bill, but a step in the right direction.

    Just giving my 100 cents worth!

    🦁♥️

  6. Dr. Tinsley Keefe says:

    “God” isn’t real, and that phrase needs to go…it’s almost 2020, not the Stone Ages

  7. Pastor B Stevens says:

    Farrrrrrrrr right evangelical republican freaks believe on They are right as long as they live in over valued castles 3 Lear jets expensive vehicles and a huge fat bank account ….for Jesus of course . They get angry because non aglow voters now control the vote …IN GOD WE TRUST was Not in our constitution that silly crap was added at a point white supremest were hanging people of color in the south claiming they were in the Right because god told them the KKK is gods army . Today in every way these pukes push their political backed religion worshiping a blond haired blue eyed Jesus . Not even close to the biblical description a man that was added to written biblical script almost 400 years after his supposedly death . A death reported by 2 previous kings adopted by the new Christian Church . As we well know Indiana is a deeply finically depressed state a situation ripe for attacking others religious ideals yet complain Every one is attacking us ….and yet you attack everyone’s else’s freedoms openly expecting everyone else to accept their white Anglo BS . Public anything is not to be bought and sold to a small group of Christian off shoot cults like the Baptist association . Don’t like America’s freedoms pleas pack up and leave I’m sure somewhere on a lonely island you will find your destination . Mind ya today these freaks belie DTrump is their new Jesus Christ ! The chosen one a man full of constant lies , sexual assaults , prideful man whom never ever reads religious text . If you read your biblical text everything this man is within your own bible states he is in fact 100% evil human being . Another false profit drawing in week minded tired scared people . Stop trying to change our national freedoms just to gain power like the old Catholic Church . Only money and gluttony attracts these people whom they claim were the church of prosperity . God wants us to be rich while the rest are lonely slaves to us . 🖕🏼
    These people are everything opposite of their own biblical text creating a all white Nazi hate filled group .

  8. Liz Dix says:

    Hmmm, well you see I live in Louisville Kentucky. I believe that the Creator does not care what positive name that the One is called by. I do trust in the Creator. If you have no godhead in which to believe (atheist), when it comes time to declare your TRUST say nothing at all.

    Going back to the law, it was bound to happen in Kentucky (a push me -pull me; state).
    After all Mitch is from here.

    1. Lori says:

      If you do believe in “the Creator” then you’re not atheistic. It’s just another name for what others call God. Atheists just don’t believe, period. Godhead is simply “divine nature” or what ever you call god.

      Anyway, the bible thumpers live in a very strange world all their own and they’re supported by our president. So, as long as he is in the white house this is where things will be heading. The Christians love him. There are already 2020 signs up for him here in the south.

  9. Carrie says:

    Rep. gReed is an asslicking toady. I know because I live in his district. He is on a “Problem Solvers Caucass” (note the last three letters) that create more problems than they solve. In God We Trust was only put forward to appease McCarthy and his lizard brained ilk. I say abolish it and return to the original E Pluribus Unum!

  10. William Waugh says:

    I also live in KY. …regretably.

  11. Rev. Brien says:

    Ok, can we step back for just a moment. How much time and tax payer money was spent on this? How many other things in the Kentucky education system could that money have funded? How are these PUBLIC servants justifying the waste of resources that it took to create such a worthless law? Do you all understand? God arguments are for church/religious people to handle, not legislators. Separation of church and state swings both directions.

  12. T'Keren Valmaz says:

    As far as Im concerned every bible thumping zealot can go spend 40 years in exile in death valley. Then follow that up with a 3 day stint on a cross. Once they have done all that then maybe just maybe Ill buy that thier faith is genuine and not just to be used as a tool to manipulate society.

  13. Sharon Shores says:

    Interesting most do not know that the original was an earlier unofficial Latin motto of E pluribus unum (“Out of Many One”).

  14. Rev. Joseph Wolfe says:

    I haven’t been apart of the Christian Faith since 2014, but I still believe in Matthew 7 and the scripture that suggests that the Laws of Man is suppose to be Separate from the Laws of God. To me, religion shouldn’t be forced upon anyone and I feel like this country is being reverted back to the Dark Ages. I for one believe and practice that everyone is entitled to their own beliefs but I do not condone forcing people to change and give themselves to something they are not comfortable with. I have expanded my views and knowledge since I left the Christian Faith and have just recently learned that judging doesn’t create peace, even if it’s judging those who judge you. We must be willing to accept others and to do unto them as we would want them to do unto us and learn to coexist and share the land with them without conflict. My biggest fear is almost coming true and from what I was shown before the outcome of the 2016, the world would be thrown into complete chaos, one of the main reasons I voted against this current administration. That vision came true and we are in complete chaos. Next is the witch trials and that scares me to death, we just can’t let a religion become law regardless of what religion is the biggest influence. There is a reason the 1st Amendment is the first.

Leave a Comment