'In God We Trust' law stirs controversy
TUPELO, Mississippi (CNN) -- A battle is brewing in Mississippi over a state law requiring a sign reading "In God We Trust" to be posted in every school classroom, cafeteria and auditorium. The law passed the legislature unanimously, and was signed by Gov. Ronnie Musgrove over the weekend.
The signs will come at no expense to the schools. The Christian-based American Family Association is making 32,000 copies available.
"There will be no charge. Local groups will be providing them to the schools," said the group's president, the Rev. Donald Wildmon.
Mississippi American Civil Liberties Union board member Jane Hicks contends the law violates the U.S. Constitution.
"'In God We Trust' is clearly an endorsement of religion and the First Amendment forbids that," she said. The ACLU is considering a lawsuit.
"We are disappointed that the governor signed the bill," Hicks said. "We believe that posting plaques that say 'In God We Trust' in the classroom violates the principles of the separation of church and state that are embodied in the Constitution, and it particularly violates the principle that government cannot favor or sponsor religion."
But Wildmon countered that putting up such plaques "has never been declared illegal."
"They have threatened to sue, and our law center will defend if the state wants us to," he said. "It's the motto of the United States. We felt it would be important to put those (posters) in the classrooms. ... We're in bad shape when you can't post the official motto of the United States."
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