Arizona Bill Aims To Put 'God' Back In Classrooms
The words "God Enriches" could soon be placed on the walls inside public schools.
Senate Bill 1289 at the state Capitol has bi-partisan support to let teachers literally translate and post Arizona's state moto from its Latin term, "Ditat Deus" to its English meaning, "God Enriches."
It's launched a new separation of church and state debate, as some argue that its approval is no different than the Congress's 1956 decision to change the U.S. moto from "E Pluribus Unum," meaning "Out of One, Many," to simply, "In God We Trust."
But, lobbyist Tory Roberg with the Secular Coalition for Arizona objects to the state motto being translated, calling it an "impermissible establishment of religion."
"We're talking about allowing teachers to put a sign on the wall that says 'God Enriches' with no explanation," said Roberg.
Republican State Rep. Rusty Bowers tried to explain.
"They could worship an alligator as a god, they could worship the sun as a god, they could worship ... other beings as gods," he offered. "But I don't think it necessarily causes irreparable harm to anybody in an attitude of tolerance for all religion or lack of religion.''
The House panel went ahead and approved the plan on Monday to let schools put the word, "God," into classrooms, so long as it's connected to the word "enriches."
EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been modified to include the bill number.