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First Liberty Briefing

First Liberty Briefing is an exclusive podcast hosted by First Liberty Institute’s Deputy General Counsel Jeremy Dys. In about 90-seconds, once a week, Jeremy recalls the stories that have shaped America’s religious liberty, from the founding era to current legal battles and more. It’s an insider’s look at the stories, cases, people, and laws that have made America the world’s leader in protecting religious liberty.
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Aug 19, 2019

South Dakota has new law that public schools will display the national motto, “In God We Trust”, and many people are unhappy about it. Every circuit court has deemed it constitutional and it has been upheld that the motto has nothing to do with the establishment of religion. Learn more at FirstLiberty.org/Briefing.


Under a new law, South Dakota’s public schools will now display the national motto on school property.  But, not everyone is very happy displaying “In God We Trust” on public property. 

One anti-religion activist called the idea “exclusionary and aimed at brainwashing American schoolchildren.” 

Well, the only brainwashing seems to come from anti-religion activists with a bent to exclude, based on inaccurate information! Indeed, few words are more in keeping with our history and law than the National Motto. 

Francis Scott Key included the line, “And this be our motto: ‘in God is our Trust’” in the further verse of the Star Spangled Banner. It went on our coins in 1864 and became the official motto in 1956, a year before it appeared on all our currency. It’s even displayed above the Speaker’s Rostrum in Congress!

Every one of the 11 circuit courts of appeal to consider the motto has deemed it constitutional.  The Ninth Circuit has twice upheld the motto, explaining in one case that the motto “has nothing whatsoever to do with the establishment of religion.”

So, the next time you hear someone suggest that it violates the constitution, just use the words of the Sixth Circuit who determined that a court removing the motto from government property would be “ludicrous.”

To learn how First Liberty is protecting religious liberty for all Americans, visit FirstLiberty.org.

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