Wednesday, September 2, 2009


This is an actual photo taken from a public school that one of my daughters goes to. If you saw this hanging openly in a hallway at a public school, what would you do?


The sign has been taken down and disposed of by the district's Superintendent. :)


  1. Well, I would start by taking a picture of it. Then I would either insist the principal walks over to the sign with me and takes it down, or I would take it down myself and hand it to the guy.

  2. I guess it would depend on who the "we" is? Do they also have inspirational posters for other religions to be fair? For students to make a free will choice, don't they have to be given ALL the options, including that of none?

  3. That is the only poster I saw mentioning a god or gods. So not only is it insensitive to the non-believers, it's also offensive to those of different beliefs.

  4. Well considering most so called "christians" worship money more then some deity, I would of crossed out god and put dolla

  5. First, realize that "God" is a generic word. Also realize that this name is actually used by Christians, Jews, and Muslims. Sure, Muslims say "Allah" but that literally translates to "The God." Theologically all three are actually worshipping the exact same God just with different systems surrounding that worship. So, a sign which reads "In God we trust" is actually inclusive of three religions. This is somewhat beside the point as it's still not universally inclusive but it's far less restrictive than people tend to give it credit for.

    Secondly, right or wrong that exact same phrase is found on our money. Since money is more pervasive than posters it might be wise to focus the attention there instead of on signs which get limited exposure. I haven't seen you post a picture of good ol' Franklin with that same motto. Is there a reason to highlight a poster but not the more prevalent display of the phrase on our money?

    Third, we is an inclusive word but nonetheless ambiguous. I could say "We love peanut butter." Would that be offensive to people who are allergic to peanut butter? It sure shouldn't be. They would just think to themselves: "well, I'm not part of that 'we'!" And they'd be right; they aren't part of the we. So I think that it might be a bit melodramic to get offended at every little thing. This world is chock full of stuff you do not or will not agree with and the sanest response (if it's not directly hurting anything) is to grow a thick skin. Note that this applies to Christians just as much as you. If they see a poster for Ramadan or something then they should also get a thick skin and not blow their top.

    Now, does that mean that it's appropriate to have a sign like that in school? No, it's not really legal. It'd be very difficult to placate every single belief system. There would have to be a wall a mile high full of posters.

  6. Anon,

    First, Muslims, Jews and Christians are not all worshipping the exact same god. Linguistically, they may all use "God" to refer to their deity, but they are far from the same deity.

    Secondly, yes the phrase is found on money and that is something that needs to change. And it is an issue that affects many more people than this sign (which is in a kindergarten, by the way, where most of the people in the building can't even read which just makes me ask the question: Who is the sign there for?) but we can't ignore the smaller issues just because there are also larger problems. This sign is in our daughter's school. And unlike changing all currency in the U.S., this is an issue that can and should be quickly and easily resolved. The more "small" cases like this we win, the better our case against the "larger" one. Then again, any breach of the separation of the first amendment is a large issue whether it is on one piece of paper or another.

    Since you can't possibly placate every single belief system, when it comes to a public institution the default should be the secular solution. Since you can't acknowledge every god on a sign, don't acknowledge any of them. You can't teach every idea that people may have about the origin of the universe so just teach the scientific one.

    Finally, some of us are damned sick of not being a part of that "we," as you put it. If the sign said "We are all white people" and you yourself were black, would you feel uncomfortable seeing that sign in your child's school?