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SB 55 Pushes Exclusionary Theocracy on Public School Students

In another sign that the South Dakota Legislature is committed to poseurdom over problem-solving, Senator Phil Jensen (R-33/Rapid City) has rounded up 50 Republicans to co-sponsor his Senate Bill 55, a measure that would require every public school to display “In God We Trust” “in a prominent location” in “the form of a mounted plaque, student artwork, or any other appropriate form as determined by the school principal.”

Were I a school principal committed to the principles of the founding of our great nation, I would respond to SB 55’s theocratic mandate thus:

Template for display mandated by Senate Bill 55
Template for display mandated by Senate Bill 55

In a Session dominated with talk of teaching our kids civics, it is essential that we teach our kids that we are one nation, not one church or temple or mosque. “In God We Trust” cannot represent the beliefs and aspirations of every American. “E Pluribus Unum” far better represents the uniquely unifying mission that can make every willing heart an American.


  1. happy camper 2019-01-20

    Oh lord they’ll do anything to try and promote “their” form of superstition it’s shameless. If anything the atheists are way too nice last week a friend told me about her house being haunted and they recorded the voices what do you say??? I just can’t believe the level of ignorance they want to push on our youth. In a school, in a place of learning how about grow up what bugs me are all those who skate along not really believing but it’s in their best interest to keep quiet get off the fence you lollygaggers and show some backbone. A little too intolerant? Perhaps but how long are we gonna put up with it.

  2. jerry 2019-01-20

    Concealed people killers and theocracy, will surely drive up the tourist industry in South Dakota. Next, we shall have state sponsored self flagellation required for students and faculty, just to enter the school facilities. Before each sports game, all players will be required to read a verse of the ______ good Book, before the competition begins. If the said verse is not to the liking of those present, then the concealed guns can be drawn and utilized. We are not only a step above Mississippi in wages, we are also just a step above Afghanistan in our religious fervor. Evangelical/Sharia Law exists in the minds of South Dakota legislators who do not want to get anything done for the people.

  3. Buckobear 2019-01-20

    Like I’ve said before, all these republicans offer is “E pluribus feces.”

  4. Darla Drew 2019-01-20

    Our electeds in Pierre focus on ridiculous edicts like this because they can’t solve the real problems in ag product prices, low wages, affordable and comfortable living conditions and the poverty on reservations that effect our State.

  5. mike from iowa 2019-01-20

    Most U.S. adults now say it is not necessary to believe in God to be moral and have good values (56%), up from about half (49%) who expressed this view in 2011. This increase reflects the continued growth in the share of the population that has no religious affiliation, but it also is the result of changing attitudes among those who do identify with a religion, including white evangelical Protestants.

    So we don’t all trust god, now do we, not that it would make a difference to Northern Mississippi wingnuts.

  6. grudgenutz 2019-01-20

    Those pricks are as relentless as diarrhea, and about as useful.

  7. John Kennedy Claussen, Sr. 2019-01-20

    This is an other example of our legislature just playing government.

  8. owen reitzel 2019-01-20

    I thought Republicans were for small government? Guess not

  9. Roger Cornelius 2019-01-20

    Perhaps we can entice a Democratic legislator to introduce legislation to post the Bill of Rights not only in a prominent place of the public schools, but in each and every classroom.
    The Bill of Rights has much more meaning than a motto.

  10. happy camper 2019-01-20

    That’s a much better idea Roger. The Bill of Rights has much more meaning in a country (supposedly) separated by church and state which is obviously lost on these people. They like to forget that First One which is obviously why the founders put it in the most prominent position.

  11. bearcreekbat 2019-01-20

    happy, the founders actually placed what we label as the 1st Amendment in the 3rd position of the original proposed Bill of Rights. The original proposed 1st Amendment addressed selection of members of the House and the original 2nd Amendment addressed pay for Congress. Neither was ratified so the original 3rd Amendment regarding speech and religion moved up to number 1.

    Thus, thus while the current 1st Amendment is of extreme importance, it appears that the current order of the amendments in the Bill of Rights does not reflect original attitudes about relative importance.

  12. Debbo 2019-01-20

    “Damn the constitution! Full theocracy ahead!”

  13. leslie 2019-01-21

    Jensen is s a Missouri plant in naive SD, a continuation of the GOP insurgency of corruption that started in 1964 with Goldwater as BCB and professor Newquist discuss in his blog. G. Packers, The Atlantic, “Why (12.14.18)the GOP is so Corrupt”

  14. Donald Pay 2019-01-21

    First, I hate all mottos and pledges. I mean, really, how 4K can we be.

    Second, I bet you could go into the house of every Legislator, even the ones who claim to be “Christian,” and especially those who are “holier than thou fake Christians” and not find that motto posted on their wall. They should be required to post the word “HYPOCRITE” prominently on their Legislator badge.

    Third, courts usually hold that these sorts of mottos hold no religious import. Every word in them has no religious or theological meaning. The courts hold that the word “God” in that motto has as much meaning as “Dog.” Which brings us to #4.

    Fourth, what will be what happen in schools, especially in middle school and high school, is that students will make postmodernist artistic efforts to mock those mottos. As a high schooler I could see where I, myself, might have used dog turds, for example, to deface the word “God.” It’s just a word with no meaning, after all, and “Piss Christ” IS a remarkable piece of art that still makes Christians cringe, even though it has deeper meaning that the Pieta.

  15. o 2019-01-21

    It really is an awful pledge as I think about it – the ultimate in shifting of personal responsibility; the ultimate in waiting for the super powerful other to swoop in as the deus ex machina. Is this the root of the anti-science wing: we don’t have to worry about global warming because we trust God to fix that? We don’t have to worry that 800,000 people are not receiving checks for their jobs, God will take care of them? God has ordained the President, so he MUST be good?

    Maybe its the arrogance I object to more – the very notion that those hangin up the mottos have the faintest notion of how a god works.

  16. o 2019-01-21

    Just something we are reading in class:

    “As Tom waxed old, however, he grew thoughtful. Having secured the good things of this world, he began to feel anxious about those of the next. He thought with regret on the bargain he had made with his black friend, and set his wits to work to cheat him out of the conditions. . . He Prayed loudly and strenuously as if heaven were to be taken by the force of his lungs.”

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