(TMU) — In the latest move to undermine the separation of church and state in the United States, a new law in South Dakota is requiring all public schools in the state to prominently display the motto “In God We Trust.”
The new law, which decrees that schools must emblazon the message across 149 South Dakota school districts, was pushed by lawmakers who argue that the theological slogan is meant to “inspire patriotism.”
Governor Kristi Noem signed off on the law in March. The law requires that the motto must be both legible and 12-by-12 inches in size.
In a Thursday Twitter post, the governor said:
“We should never be afraid to proclaim that we are one nation under God. Thanks to a new law, ‘In God We Trust’ will be a part of South Dakota schools this upcoming school year as a humbling reminder of our country’s faith tradition.”
According to CBS News, Associated School Boards of South Dakota said that “Some [schools] have plaques, others have it painted on the wall, maybe in a mural setting,” while in one school “it was within their freedom wall. They added that to a patriotic theme.”
The new law has provoked controversy in many of the state’s communities, with critics condemning the law as part of a “stealth campaign” aiming to infuse religious indoctrination into state legislation.
Wisconsin-based nonprofit organization Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) damned the law as exclusionary. In a press release, the group said:
“The law—insultingly confusing patriotism with piety—is part of the nationwide legislative push by Project Blitz, which is a stealth campaign to inject religious bills into state legislatures across the country … These laws are about advancing the Big Lie that the United States was ‘founded on God’ or Christianity, thus dismantling the wall between religion and government. The motto ‘In God We Trust’ is inaccurate, exclusionary, and aimed at brainwashing American schoolchildren into believing that our nation is a theocracy, FFRF asserts.”
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is damning an exclusionary new South Dakota law that mandates displaying an “In God We Trust” logo in all public schools. https://t.co/tQ4XQEXut5 pic.twitter.com/UKpAAO0D0q
— FFRF (@FFRF) July 25, 2019
Six other states—Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana and Tennessee—have also approved legislation that allows or enforces the posting of the religious motto on public school grounds.
This summer at Stevens High School in Rapid City, South Dakota, a group of students held a brief campaign to pressure their school board to alternate God with Yahweh, Allah, Buddah, and other terms including “science” and “ourselves” in a bid to use a more inclusive message.
Their school board ignored the students’ request and reportedly declined to consult with the group, according to a student who spoke to secular blogger The Friendly Atheist.
Stevens High student Abigail Ryan told KOTA-TV:
“I think that’s a really foundational element of American society, is that we are a cultural melting pot and it is really important that we make all people who come to America to feel welcome and to be more in accordance with the First Amendment since we all have the freedom of religion.”
The slogan “In God We Trust” began appearing on U.S. coins following an upswing in religious fervor following the Civil War, according to the U.S. Treasury Department. In 1956, at the height of conservative religiosity during the first decade of the Cold War, it was signed into law as the official U.S. motto by President Dwight Eisenhower.
The original U.S. motto, chosen by founding statesmen Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and John Adams, was the Latin phrase E Pluribus Unum, which means “From Many, [Come] One.”
Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida
A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.
Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.
In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.
“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.
Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.
Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.
Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.
Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.
However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.
Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son
A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.
The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.
The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.
“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.
“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.
The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.
The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.
“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.
The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.
The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.
Video Shows Taliban Taking Joyride in Captured US Blackhawk Helicopter
The rapid fall of Kabul to the Taliban has resulted in a number of surreal sights – from footage of the Islamist group’s fighters exercising at a presidential gym to clips of combatants having a great time on bumper cars at the local fun park.
However, a new video of Taliban members seemingly testing their skills in the cockpit of a commandeered UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter shows the chilling extent to which U.S. wares have fallen into the hands of a group it spent trillions of dollars, and exhaustive resources, to stamp out.
In the new video, shared on Twitter, the front-line utility helicopter can be seen taxiing on the ground at Kandahar Airport in southeastern Afghanistan, moving along the tarmac. It is unclear who exactly was sitting in the cockpit, and the Black Hawk cannot be seen taking off or flying.
It is unlikely that the Taliban have any combatants who are sufficiently trained to fly a UH-60 Black Hawk.
The helicopter, which carries a $6 million price tag, is just a small part of the massive haul that fell into the militant group’s hands after the country’s central government seemingly evaporated on Aug. 14 amid the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops.
Some 200,000 firearms, 20,000 Humvees and hundreds of aircraft financed by Washington for the now-defunct Afghan Army are believed to be in the possession of the Taliban.
The firearms include M24 sniper rifles, M18 assault weapons, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.
Taliban fighters in the elite Badri 313 Brigade have been seen in propaganda images showing off in uniforms and wielding weaponry meant for the special forces units of the Afghan Army.
The U.S. is known to have purchased 42,000 light tactical vehicles, 9,000 medium tactical vehicles and over 22,000 Humvees between 2003 and 2016.
The White House remains unclear on how much weaponry has fallen into Taliban hands, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitting last week that the U.S. lacks a “clear picture of just how much missing $83 billion of military inventory” the group has.