And now, from the "Damned-if-you-do, Damned-if-you-don't" department...
Parents at a Fort Worth elementary school are protesting the school's decision to remove the word "God" from a design placed on the school yearbook cover.
The design utilized the new 2005 nickel design with the offset profile of Thomas Jefferson that commemorated the bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark expedition. These coins feature a reverse of either a buffalo or of the view of the Pacific Ocean with a quote from Lewis and Clark's journals.
Here're the highlights of the story from television station WOAI in San Antonio:
A yearbook cover that omits the words "In God We Trust" from a picture of an enlarged nickel has angered some parents.
Liberty Elementary, a new school in suburban Fort Worth, chose the coin because the nickel's new design prominently features the school's name in cursive.
The coin also has "In God We Trust" along the right edge, but the phrase was removed from the yearbook. Instead, the $16 book came with a sticker that gave students the choice of putting the phrase back on the nickel.
Keller ISD spokesman Jason Meyer said a parent's group at the school approved the decision before the book was published. Liberty Principal Janet Travis wanted to avoid offending students of different religions, Meyer said.
As you can see, the words "In God We Trust" are larger than the scripted "Liberty."
I feel for the leaders of the school. If they'd have left the phrase visible, there would have been an outcry. Did they really think that taking the phrase off would solve their problem? I mean, this is Texas, the "Buckle of the Bible Belt." People are going to notice.
Further, the use of "In God We Trust" is hardly a new development. US coins have borne the phrase since 1864, when the motto was placed on a two-cent piece. The other suggested phrase, by the way, was "Our God and Our Country." Later, the Coinage Act of 1873 allowed the secretary of the treasury to place the motto on any coins. Some designs have precluded space for the motto, but the motto has been very widely utilized for over 140 years.
I personally would have laid out the design of the yearbook showing both sides of the coin, overlapping a bit-- say, right where the phrase is along the edge. This would be a much more subtle way of avoiding offense, if one was to insist on using the coin in the first place despite fears of protest. It's like being offered a lovely beachfront home --in front of the flaming lakes of Hell: sometimes, you just shouldn't go there.