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Thanks to Florida Troll, Texas Schools May Soon Sport Arabic 'In God We Trust' Posters

Looks like a Florida activist has found a loophole in one of Texas' new laws.
Looks like a Florida activist has found a loophole in one of Texas' new laws. Photo by Drew Beamer on Unsplash
Love him or loathe him, state Sen. Bryan Hughes, who authored a restrictive Texas abortion ban, is shrewd. But recent developments raise questions as to whether the East Texas Republican understands that languages other than English are similarly composed of sequences of syllables that we call “words.”

Last year, Hughes also authored a law that requires donated signs emblazoned with the phrase “In God We Trust” to be prominently displayed in schools. He penned the legislation with strict requirements but seemingly overlooked a large loophole.

You see, Hughes and his fellow GOP lawmakers didn’t specify which language the posters needed to be written in. Now, a Florida activist is spearheading an effort to donate “In God We Trust” signs to Texas schools — all written in Arabic.

On Sunday, activist Chaz Stevens took to Twitter to ask for help raising funds “in our quest to battle Texas' latest law.” He included an image of the would-be sign, which sports both the U.S. and Texas flags plus the national motto scrawled in Arabic.

“Our project will send hundreds of these posters across the Lone Star state,” Stevens said in a tweet. “We really need your help. Stand with us today!”
A GoFundMe page for the signs further explains that Stevens and company hope to donate hundreds of copies to “[flood] the public school system.”

Allah 'akbar and all that jazz!” the description continues. “Just what the vast hordes of Texas Evangelicals want to read at their kid's school.”

The effort had raised more than $9,300 as of Wednesday afternoon. Stevens estimates it will cost around $23 to print and send each poster.

The activist has also led recent efforts in Florida to remove the Bible from school shelves and to ban prayer prior to government meetings.

Earlier this week, Fort Worth Star-Telegram columnist Bud Kennedy tweeted that Texas schools could soon see the Arabic-language “In God We Trust” signs. It was a statement that apparently ruffled Hughes’ feathers.

“Read the bill,” the lawmaker wrote in response to Kennedy’s tweet. “Sign must contain ‘In God We Trust’ US flag, Texas flag and ‘may not depict’ any other words or images. Print what you like, but only these signs qualify under the law.”

From there, Twitter trolls roasted the sitting state senator.

One social media user asked whether Hughes had essentially conflated “language” with “words.” Another came up with their own sign design, which technically includes all four words in English but with some of the letters almost translucent to look like it reads “NO GOD.” Stevens appears poised to take his posters all the way to the courtroom.

“Please, pretty God please,” he tweeted Wednesday, “just have one sign rejected, and it will give me standing to sue Texas. Let's talk about this ridiculous bill, writ large, in Court.”

Inshallah.
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Simone Carter, a staff news reporter at the Dallas Observer, graduated from the University of North Texas' Mayborn School of Journalism. Her favorite color is red, but she digs Miles Davis' Kind of Blue.
Contact: Simone Carter