OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – As state lawmakers discuss measures dealing with tax credits and immigration, they will also consider a bill that would add a motto to state buildings.
House Bill 3817, authored by House Speaker Charles McCall, would add ‘In God We Trust’ to all state buildings.
The measure states that the Office of Management and Enterprise Services should display "the national motto of the United States in a prominently visible location in all state buildings."
It also says that OMES would be responsible for any related expenses associated with the addition of the motto.
The bill states that the display "shall not be construed to mean that the State of Oklahoma favors any particular religion or denomination thereof over others."
Officials with McCall's office say their view that is the bill is about history and not religion.
“It is important for government to acknowledge history and project the values that make America great. ‘In God We Trust’ is on buildings, currency and more across America because it is our motto and an important part of our history and founding principles," McCall said.
However, organizations are already speaking out against the measure.
"Plastering 'In God We Trust' on every public building in Oklahoma is exclusionary. It sends the harmful message to atheists, agnostics, Buddhists, Hindus, and other polytheists that they are unwelcome in Oklahoma,” said Tim Ward, American Atheists’ Oklahoma State Director, who submitted an opposition letter to the committee. "The government is supposed to represent everyone equally, not show preference to one religious group over all others."
HB 3817 passed the House Rules Committee Tuesday morning in a 6-1 vote.