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No class time for God, but a license plate?
By John Patterson | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 3/5/2008 12:17 AM

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SPRINGFIELD -- State lawmakers voted Tuesday to kick God out of the classroom but put him on special license plates.

Within a matter of minutes, the Illinois House first voted to undo a required moment of silence at the start of school days, then voted to create new, "In God We Trust" license plates.

Last October, lawmakers required a moment of silence in schools, something that previously had been merely allowed.

A month later, a federal judge barred the state education officials from enforcing the law in one suburban school after a student and her father sued. But the law itself has no enforcement mechanism, no penalties and, for that matter, no guidelines on how long the "moment" should be.

The proposal the Illinois House approved 72-31 on Tuesday would turn back the clock on the moment of silence, again making it optional, depending on the will of local district officials, as it had been for decades.

"They're fully capable of making this decision," said state Rep. Bill Black, a Danville Republican.

Having voted to do away with the mandated moment of silence, the House next turned to creating "In God We Trust" license plates.

Supporters said the money from the sale of these specialty plates would finance grants to families struggling to make ends meet after someone is called to active military duty.

The funding now comes from donations. The "In God We Trust" license plates were approved 105-3.

Both proposals now advance to the Illinois Senate for consideration.