Texas passed a law requiring schools to post signs saying “In God We Trust” in schools.

A prankster in Florida is raising money to donate these signs to Texas schools/-but in Arabic.

Will these signs be allowed?

As he rode his bike Sunday, longtime political prankster Chaz Stevens ruminated on a law that was irking him: A Texas statute requiring schools to post donated signs with the United States motto, “In God We Trust.”

Texas legislators, Stevens thought, were trolling people who don’t believe in a Judeo-Christian God.
Now, Stevens wants to troll them back.

The South Florida activist had raised more than $14,000 as of Thursday evening to distribute “In God We Trust” signs to public schools across Texas. The catch? The phrase is in Arabic.

“My focus,” Stevens said, “was how do I game the state of Texas with the rules?”

The Arabic text is meant to invoke Islam and some Christians’ discomfort with that faith, Stevens said. He’s hoping for even one school to hang up the poster — in his view, making a point about applying the controversial statute evenly to people of any religion or no religion.

But Stevens, a self-described “staunch atheist,” is also prepared to try to turn a loss into a win. If a school rejects his poster, he said, he plans to file a lawsuit and use the court case to challenge the statute itself.

Stevens’ stunt, previously reported in the Dallas Morning News, joins a history of challenges to the national motto that courts have consistently rejected. It also adds fuel to a political firestorm that in recent years has turned schools in Republican-led states into culture-war battlegrounds. Fights are erupting over book banning, how race and gender are taught, and religious practice on school grounds as politicians clash over what it means to be an American and who gets to decide.

Texas state Sen. Bryan Hughes (R), who sponsored the sign law, said Stevens’s Arabic posters do not meet the statute’s requirements and would not have to be posted in schools. He pointed to quotation marks around the phrase “In God We Trust” to suggest that a school only has to hang a donated sign with those words in English.

“That’s all they’re required to do,” Hughes said. “But they are free to post other signs in as many languages as they want to.”

The law, which took effect last year, mandates that public schools display “in a conspicuous place in each building of the school” a sign with the national motto if the poster was donated or purchased with private donations. The sign also must include the U.S. flag and the Texas flag, and it “may not depict” any other words or images. The law does not explicitly state that the national motto must be in English.

Given the Christian zealots who now control the U.S. Supreme Court, Sen. Hughes might prevail.