Editor's note: There are dozens of newspapers across the state of Kentucky. Each Tuesday, this space will be dedicated to what one of those papers thinks about the issues facing their communities and this state.

Our national motto, "In God We Trust," is something that we should be proud of and not be ashamed to display.

It appears on our currency, on license plates in Kentucky, on two state flags, in courthouses, in the legislative chambers in Frankfort and in the congressional chambers in our nation's capital.

We have no problem with this being displayed on our currency, on cars, courthouses or in state and federal buildings. Buildings that display "In God We Trust" are simply displaying a phrase whose official use dates to the 1800s and was adopted as the national motto in 1956. Supporters of displaying the motto are not trying to ram religion down people's throats, as some groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and others would have you believe.

We are very proud that the Kentucky legislature and the majority of our area legislators voted this past session to require that all public schools display the national motto in prominent places before classes begin -- except state Rep. Patti Minter, D-Bowling Green, who voted against the bill. According to House Bill 46, which was introduced early this year and signed into law by Gov. Matt Bevin in March, local school boards shall require elementary and secondary schools to display the motto "in a prominent location in the school."

The display can take the form of, but isn't limited to, a mounted plaque or student artwork, for example. The "prominent location," as defined by the legislation, refers to a school entryway, cafeteria or common area "where students are likely to see the national motto."

We're glad that kids will who will be starting school ... will actually be able to walk under or near where our national motto will be posted. Both city and county schools have been preparing to get the signs and have said that they will have them posted by the start of school.

Kentucky isn't the only state to have passed such a law. At least a half-dozen states passed "In God We Trust" bills last year, and 10 more have introduced or passed the legislation so far in 2019.

Critics have argued the measures violate the First Amendment.

We couldn't disagree more. The state legislature passed this bill not only because it is our national motto, but also because it in fact does represent free speech. Placing "In God We Trust" in our state's public schools is a form of free speech and not an endorsement of a religion, plain and simple.

-- Bowling Green Daily News

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