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PNS Daily Newscast - September 20, 2019 


A whistleblower complaint against President Trump sets off tug-of-war between Congress and the White House; and students around the world strike today to demand action on climate change.

2020Talks - September 20, 2019. (3 min.)  


Climate change is a big issue this election season, and global climate strikes kick off, while UAW labor strikes continue.

Daily Newscasts

'In God We Trust' Motto Greets Returning SD Students

South Dakota's new state law requiring public schools to display the motto, "In God We Trust" is part of initiative by the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation called Project Blitz. (wvxu.org)
South Dakota's new state law requiring public schools to display the motto, "In God We Trust" is part of initiative by the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation called Project Blitz. (wvxu.org)
August 20, 2019

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — The mandatory display of the motto "In God We Trust" will greet South Dakota students when they return to public schools on Thursday, and those who believe in separation of church and state say that’s sending the wrong message.

A law approved by state legislators and signed by Gov. Kristi Noem requires the motto be visibly displayed in all 149 South Dakota school districts. Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, said she believes the requirement is improper, because students, teachers and other school personnel likely have a variety of spiritual beliefs.

"We think this is a very inappropriate motto because we have a godless constitution, we are not a theocracy, nobody has to believe in God, God is no part of our government,” Gaylor said. “And yet whole generations have been miseducated by this motto since it was adopted by Congress."

Congress adopted the "In God We Trust" motto in 1956. Gaylor said she believes it would be more appropriate if the motto said, "In God, Some of Us Trust,” because 25% of the U.S. population currently identifies as religiously unaffiliated.

South Dakota lawmakers said the new requirement is meant to inspire patriotism in the state's public schools.

According to the state law, the motto must be displayed in a "prominent location" such as a school entryway, cafeteria, or common area where students are likely to see it. Gaylor believes the mandatory display sends a message to non-believers that they're not real Americans or true citizens.

"The whole idea is to put that word ‘God’ in front of school children, in their public school,” she said; “and that some people are first-class citizens, believe in God, and the rest of you, not so much."

Other states such as Tennessee, North Carolina and Kentucky have adopted similar laws, but South Dakota is the first state to pass it under the auspices of Project Blitz, a coalition of Christian right groups which supports electing legislators at the local, state and federal level and whose mission it is to "preserve America's Judeo-Christian heritage and promote prayer."

Roz Brown, Public News Service - SD