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We already know public school classrooms and government buildings in Arkansas now have to display the phrase “In God We Trust” — assuming the signs or money for them are available via donations — because of a new law.


As I’ve said many times before, whenever this phrase goes up, it’s ostensibly a way to promote patriotism. Those who want it say it brings us together. It’s our national motto. It’s not specific to any one religion.

We know better than that. This is nothing but a sneaky backdoor approach to promoting religion in public spaces. The phrase doesn’t apply to atheists and we all know it’s referring to the Christian God.

And if you need evidence of that, look no further than the Benton School District, which is all set to “become the first in the state to display the country’s motto on their walls.”

If this sign is really all about the motto, consider that the signs are being donated by the Pleasant Hill Baptist Church. And Youth Pastor Chris Reed was all too eager to tell a local reporter why they wanted to get involved:

“Our church discussed it very briefly of, ‘Absolutely, that’s something we want to be a part of,'” said Chris Reed. “Though we may differ on what ‘In God We Trust’ means specifically, I think we can all agree that there’s a greater calling in our life that’s greater than us.”

“As a student pastor, I think it’s vital that we have that spiritual influence in our schools as much as possible,” Reed said.

“This is who we are, this is who we have been and hopefully, I pray, that’s who we continue to be moving forward,” he said. “In the name of Jesus that our lives will be directed as we obediently follow Christ.”

Uh-oh. He said the part he was supposed to keep secret.

This church is getting involved because they see these signs as a means of proselytizing. If they can get the kids hooked on God from a young age, they may find some new members in the future.

I suspect many school districts will be receiving signs or money from local churches for the exact same reason. This was always about promoting religion. This was never about patriotism. No one becomes a patriot because they saw a sign. It’s the same reason many atheists oppose saying the Pledge of Allegiance. It’s a mindless ritual (that also pushes the idea that everyone believes in God) that has nothing to do with patriotism.

Being able to articulate what makes the country great? Saying why you appreciate it? Sacrificing for it? That’s how you really show your loyalty. Not by forcing everyone to pay lip service to God.

(Thanks to @emibarrelracer for the link)

Hemant Mehta is the founder of, a YouTube creator, podcast co-host, and author of multiple books about atheism. He can be reached at @HemantMehta.

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