On September 11, 2001, our nation experiences a terrible tragedy when four terrorist-controlled airplanes flew into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania. Over 3,000 people were killed, and thousands more were affected. In an effort to promote patriotism and unite the nation, citizens began displaying American flags, holding memorial services, and attending church.
County High School also made an effort to bring together its students and faculty. A number of candlelight vigils were held, and students made posters and signs to display their patriotic feelings. One of these sings was a large banner hung right inside the front door. Red, white, and blue lettering displayed the phrase, ‘In God We Trust.’
This sign was met with mixed feelings. While many students were comforted by this display of patriotism, others took a very opposite stand. Less than 24 hours after the banner was raised, there were students rallying for it to be taken down, complaining to the principal, and arguing against it in class and at lunch. The upset students claimed it was offensive to atheists, agnostics, Muslims, Buddhists, and anyone else not North American Christian. Ironically, the majority of the students who complained weren’t actually members of any of these religions and the students who were generally took no offense to it. Personally, I found the students’ attempts to remove the sign offensive, not the sign itself.
The sign was not displayed to recruit and convert students to Christianity, nor was it intended to preach to non-believers. It was a patriotic symbol; a reminder of our founding fathers’ ideals and hop...
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...a misguided retreat from the First Amendment we are allowing those views to stifle our emotions, restrict legitimate expressions of faith, and disrupt our unity.
Amendments to the Constitution. U.S. House of Representatives. 22 September 2003
Facts Sheets: Currency & Coins. History of ‘In God We Trust’. United States Department of the Treasury. 23 September 2003
Renstrom, Peter G. Constitutional Rights Sourcebook. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, Inc., 1999.
The Declaration of Independence: A Transcription. The National Archives Experience. 23 September 2003
The New American Bible. Washington D.C.: World Bible Publishers, Inc. 1970.
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