OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A House committee approved Tuesday legislation that would require signs bearing the national motto “In God We Trust” to be displayed at all state buildings.
The House Rules Committee voted 6-1 to advance to the full House the bill by House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka.
The bill is fiercely opposed by the religious equality watchdog group American Atheists, which says the message is exclusionary. It says the bill is related to a campaign that seeks to weaken the separation of religion and government.
“It sends the harmful message to atheists, agnostics, Buddhists, Hindus and other polytheists that they are unwelcome in Oklahoma,” American Atheists Oklahoma State Director Tim Ward said in a statement.
A similar bill in Kansas would also require public schools to post the national motto, but the bill in Oklahoma specifically excludes school buildings.
A fiscal analysis of the bill suggests it will cost taxpayers more than $85,000 to display the signs in 342 separate state buildings.