A bill that would require all public school buildings in Pennsylvania to display the national motto, “In God we trust,” passed in the House Education committee Wednesday morning.
Republican Rick Saccone, who represents parts of Allegheny and Washington counties, is the bill’s sponsor. He said the bill is meant to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the U.S. mint printing the motto on our nation’s currency.
Saccone called the tale of how the motto got onto the currency “a Pennsylvania story.”
Before James Pollock became the 13th governor of Pennsylvania in 1855, he lived in the same boarding house as Abraham Lincoln when they were both freshman congressmen.
“When Abraham Lincoln became president, he appointed Gov. Pollock as the director of the U.S. Mint,” Saccone said. “Pollock suggested we put ‘In God we trust’ on the coins. The treasury secretary and Abe agreed, and Congress agreed, so it became law to put that on our coins in 1864.”
Saccone said he would not be surprised if someone tried to challenge the law in court, but he is not worried about it being struck down.
“It’s already settled that that is acceptable,” Saccone said. “It is our national motto by law, passed by Congress — unanimously by the way — signed into law by President Eisenhower, and reaffirmed by several Congresses after that. People will challenge anything, but we should celebrate it. It’s already been upheld.”
While the bill would require that all public schools display the motto, it does not stipulate any consequences if a school fails to comply.