With the shooting in Parkland, Florida, still weighing heavily on people’s minds, state lawmakers passed legislation this week to bring “light” back into public schools.
By a vote of 97-10, the Florida House of Representatives approved a bill sponsored by Democratic Rep. Kimberly Daniels that would require all public schools and administrative buildings to display a boldly faithful message: “In God We Trust.”
“He is not a Republican or a Democrat. He is not black or white,” Daniels told the Tampa Bay Times. “He is the light, and our schools need light in them like never before.”
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The legislation would require the religious motto be posted in “a conspicuous place.”
Daniels noted she understands the importance of debating gun control, but said the root of the problem is “issues of the heart,” adding, “We cannot put God in a closet when the issues we face are bigger than us.”
The proposal was met with some backlash. Florida House Rep. Carlos G. Smith (D) said the bill was inappropriate because it blurs the lines between church and state:
Let’s keep a clear separation between church + state. Forcing our public schools to post “In God We Trust” in a conspicuous place is inappropriate. I don’t care if it was a Democrat who sponsor the bill. I vote based on core values, not party lines. I vote NO on HB 839. #sayfie
— Rep. Carlos G Smith (@CarlosGSmith) February 21, 2018
And progressive blogger Michael Stone called the legislation “a futile gesture that ultimately demeans and disparages the U.S. Constitution, the separation of church and state, and the secular values upon which this nation was built.”
It’s not clear at this point if the bill will clear the state Senate and be signed into law by Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R).
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